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Monitor steps in at Cambridge hospitals trust

By Vivienne Russell | 23 November 2012

Regulators have intervened at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following concerns over waiting times and poor financial performance.

Monitor today said the trust was in ‘significant breach’ of its terms of authorisation because of successive failures to meet cancer treatment and Accident & Emergency waiting time targets.

The watchdog’s concerns have been compounded by multiple occurrences of patient safety incidents, known as ‘never events’. These have included leaving surgical instruments or swabs inside patients and operating on the wrong person.

There also concerns that the trust has fallen behind schedule in implementing its Cost Improvement Plans, which are crucial to the trust’s financial recovery.

Stephen Hay, managing director of provider regulation, said: ‘This is not the first time we have called the trust in to explain itself. We are disappointed that the board has not resolved these issues.

‘We note the trust has a new chair and will shortly appoint a new chief executive. We expect them to demonstrate they are getting the trust back on track as quickly as possible.’

Monitor has instructed the trust to commission a board governance and effectiveness review and to appoint an ‘experienced turnaround expert’ at board level to address the CIP issues. The board will also be required to report to Monitor on its monthly performance.

Trust chair Jane Ramsey said the trust took Monitor’s concerns very seriously.

‘My top priority, as the new chair, will be to get to grips with these performance issues with my team and we will be setting up a taskforce to swiftly get back on track. We will be focusing on turning this trust around, so once more we can be justifiably proud of our record as one of the leading trusts in the country.’

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