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Monitor reports NHS foundation trust performance for Q4 2006/07

Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has issued its latest report for quarter four 2006/07. The report, which covers 59 NHS foundation trusts, shows strong financial performance.

As announced on 6 June, NHS foundation trusts achieved a strong financial performance, delivering a £130m surplus (before exceptional items) for the year to 31 March 2007. These results were £104m above planned levels, a performance driven mainly by improved operating efficiencies. Operating margins, at 6.7%, increased from 5.6% in the previous year and were better than the planned level of 5.9%.

Of the 59 NHS foundation trusts, 56 reported a surplus for the year. Only one, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, delivered a deficit in excess of £1m.

Consolidated cash balances of £995m as at 31 March 2007 were £621m ahead of planned levels of £373m. This reflected the impact of improved working capital management, capital expenditure timing, proceeds from the sale of assets and retained operating surpluses.

One trust, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, had a financial risk rating (FRR) of 2 at quarter four as a result of financial performance. This reflected a significant improvement, reducing its deficit (before exceptional items) to £6.6m from £36m in the previous year.

Moorfields NHS Foundation Trust was allocated an FRR of 2 for the quarter due to an unauthorised breach by the trust of Monitor’s prudential borrowing code.

21 trusts achieved a green governance rating in the quarter to 31 March 2007, indicating that they are well managed, offer a high standard of services and meet all of the priority healthcare targets. Monitor has identified issues where further action is needed to meet service performance targets in 38 NHS foundation trusts.

Compliance with the annual MRSA reduction target was the main challenge with 33 NHS foundation trusts failing to achieve the required levels of year on year reduction. Four NHS foundation trusts were red rated for governance. These are Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals. In each case, Monitor is reviewing detailed action plans with the trusts to rectify these breaches and will continue to consider whether the use of its formal powers of intervention may be appropriate to improve performance.

All NHS foundation trusts have achieved a green rating for mandatory services.

Chief Operating Officer Stephen Hay commented:

“This report shows that whilst the great majority of NHS foundation trusts are performing very well on finance, they must continue to concentrate and invest increased effort on the delivery of a limited number of priority healthcare targets. Monitor’s compliance regime will continue to focus on this area, monitoring the implementation of plans to ensure required improvements, and where necessary taking action to rectify breaches of the authorisation.”


1. The year end report covers individual governance risk ratings for the quarter ended 31 March 2007 and financial data for NHS foundation trusts for the year to 31 March 2007. Highlights of the financial data were released on 6 June 2007.
2. Monitor quotes headline figures for NHS foundation trusts before deductions for “exceptional items”. Exceptional items, which amounted to £119m in the year, mainly related to impairment charges against property values.
3. For media enquiries contact: Imogen Shillito, External Relations Manager on 020 7340 2442.
4. Monitor authorises and regulates NHS foundation trusts ensuring they are well-managed and financially strong in order to deliver high quality healthcare for patients.
5. Monitor was established in January 2004. It is independent of government and accountable to Parliament. Monitor’s functions and powers are set out in the National Health Service Act 2006.

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