Department of Health and Social Care
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Consultation on regime for failed NHS providers published

Consultation on regime for failed NHS providers published

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2008/0084) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 10 September 2008

The Government today set out further details for tackling poor performance in NHS hospitals and trusts while protecting services for patients.

Following on from the publication of 'Developing an NHS Performance Regime' in June this year, the Department of Health has announced proposals detailing the steps that would be taken if an organisation failed, either for clinical or organisational reasons.

The regime aims to:
* underpin the NHS performance regime;

* ensure the public receive high-quality services by supporting quality regulation;

* reinforce the NHS Foundation Trust regime; and

* protect patients and staff from failing services.

The 'Consultation on a Regime for Unsustainable NHS Providers' picks up at the point where an organisation has failed to turn its performance around. The regime is the last step for providers who are subject to previous recovery actions by Monitor or the NHS performance regime. It proposes that a 'Trust Special Administrator' would be appointed to take control of the Trust to ensure that it continues to provide safe and effective services for patients. They would also be required to produce a report and consult swiftly on proposals for the future of the trust.

David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, said:

"The majority of hospitals and trusts are performing well, providing high quality services to patients and managing resources effectively. However, in the rare cases where a challenged trust fails to turn itself around, it is important that there are clear processes set out to ensure that services for patients continue to be provided."

The consultation also makes proposals on what would happen in the case of Foundation Trusts. Monitor, the Foundation Trust regulator, would initiate the regime, removing foundation status from a trust. It would then be subject to the same regime as NHS trusts.

Sue Slipman, Director of the Foundation Trust Network said:

"We welcome the Department of Health's consultation on the regime to manage failed NHS organisations. In particular we believe members will welcome the implication that the freedoms granted to authorised foundation trusts will be preserved in any system to deal with unsustainable NHS organisations. We will now actively consult members on the detail of the document"

Robert Bell, Chief Executive of Royal Brompton and Harefield Trust said:

"It's important that every exceptional effort is made to ensure that a hospital carries on functioning, maintaining the quality of care for its patients and the community it serves, whilst performance issues are dealt with. This regime will help address this."

The consultation will continue until December 3 2008 and can be found at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_087835

Notes to editors:

The regime for unsustainable providers is based on five essential principles:

* Patient interests must always come first

* State-owned providers are part of a wider NHS system

* The Secretary of State for Health is ultimately always accountable to Parliament

* The regime for unsustainable NHS providers should take into account the need to engage staff in the process

* The regime for unsustainable NHS providers must be credible and workable.

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