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Statement from Monitor following the Public Accounts Committee
Monitor has placed 11 foundation trusts in significant breach of their terms of authorisation on financial grounds. These decisions were taken and announced at various points over the last three years. The most recent was Derby Hospitals in January 2012.
This means that the regulator has already stepped in to demand improvements in financial governance, and help the trusts draw up turnaround plans to avert failure and achieve financial stability.
These challenged trusts represent less than one in ten of the 144 trusts with foundation status, which gives them greater freedom to run their own affairs and respond to local demand.
Since the first foundation trusts were created eight years ago, the sector has expanded and now comprises about two-thirds of all NHS-funded secondary care providers, responsible for about 1,000 hospitals. The Government wants the remaining 98 NHS trusts to achieve foundation status.
Dr David Bennett, chair and interim chief executive of Monitor, said:
"The expansion of the sector means it is no longer appropriate to think of foundation trusts as an elite band of premier hospitals. Instead they increasingly represent the mainstream of NHS hospital provision.
"In circumstances where we have an increasing number of foundation trusts, and foundation freedoms increasingly become the norm, we might expect more FTs to get into difficulties. FTs are not immune from the financial pressures facing all NHS organisations.
"Our job is to ensure that foundation hospitals are well-run and financially viable, and we often intervene behind-the-scenes to tackle problems promptly and prevent them from escalating. However in a handful of cases, trusts have run into serious difficulties and need external help to get back on an even keel.
"What we find is that these trusts cannot always solve their problems in isolation, and achieving a solution often requires the involvement of others in the local health economy, beyond the boundary of the individual organisation."
The 11 are: Burton Hospitals, Derby Hospitals, Gloucestershire Hospitals, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals, Medway, Mid Staffordshire, Milton Keynes Hospital, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn, the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (Bath), and Tameside Hospital.
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Monitor is the independent regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its fundamental duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them. More information about Monitor's new role can be found here.
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