Monitor intervenes in Sherwood NHS trust
By Vivienne Russell | 8 October 2012
Health care regulators have taken action over Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, including appointing an interim chair and chief executive, as concerns grow over its performance and rapidly deteriorating finances.
Problems with leadership, governance and the trust’s breast screening service have also been flagged up and are being investigated.
Monitor, the foundation trust watchdog, had already stepped up oversight of the Nottinghamshire trust after it made a loss of £5.9m in the first quarter of the year, and failed to provide recurrent savings of £10m in the last financial year.
But following a special board meeting on September 21, the regulator concluded the trust was in breach of its terms of authorisation.
It instructed the trust to review a variety of areas, including quality and board governance, and to commission an independent external evaluation of its financial situation and options for long-term viability.
Stephan Hay, Monitor’s chief operating officer, said: ‘We are using our formal regulatory powers of intervention because we are concerned the trust has failed to get to grips with the scale of the problems it faces.’
Meanwhile, the Care Quality Commission is to carry out an urgent review of breast screening, pathology and clinical governance at the trust after it emerged that 79 women were being recalled for breast screening following inaccurate test results.
Hay said: ‘In addition to the trust’s financial difficulties, our concern about its leadership has been heightened by the disclosure that some breast cancer patients are to receive an apology from the trust and an urgent review of their treatment after an investigation into faulty pathology test results.
‘The reviews we have commissioned will assess whether or not this issue was identified and dealt with sufficiently promptly. If either the CQC’s inspection, or the trust’s own external expert review, reveals any other matters of concern, we will not hesitate to intervene again.’
Interim trust chief executive Mark Goldman, said: ‘These are challenging times for the NHS, and Sherwood Forest Hospitals is no exception. The trust has moved a long way over the last few months in order to define its future and face the underlying challenges. There comes a point when external support is necessary to achieve this and to ensure that appropriate steps are taken within the necessary timeframe.’
Following the resignation of Tracey Doucét as trust board chair, Monitor has appointed Chris Mellor as interim chair. Eric Morton will replace Goldman as interim chief executive. The trust will be required to include Monitor fully in the selection of a permanent replacement.