Bennett succeeds Bundred as chair of Monitor

18 Feb 11
David Bennett, interim chief executive of the foundation trust regulator Monitor, has been appointed to replace Steve Bundred as the watchdog’s chair.
By David Williams


18 February 2011

David Bennett, interim chief executive of the foundation trust regulator Monitor, has been appointed to replace Steve Bundred as the watchdog’s chair.

Bennett, a former policy advisor to Tony Blair, will oversee the body’s transition to its new role as an economic regulator for the health service.

He said: ‘I have been greatly impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the many colleagues I have worked with over this last year [as chief executive], both inside and beyond.

‘I look forward to continuing our partnership as we embark on this exciting and undoubtedly challenging next phase.’

Bundred added: ‘David and I are now working out the details of how best to manage the transition to the new leadership, including the appointment of a permanent chief executive.’

Bennett is a former chair of the 10 Partnership, a firm providing strategic and operational support to public health organisations. He had also previously served as an advisor to the Monitor board, and spent 18 years at the consultancy firm McKinsey.

Sue Slipman, director of the Foundation Trust Network, told Public Finance that Bennett was the ‘dark horse candidate’ who is in favour of the reforms being brought in by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. But, she added, patient care would be the priority.

Slipman said: ‘Although some in the private sector may well see him as favouring the public sector, I would say that because of his stance on the reform process, he sees competition as playing an important role in the market.

‘Monitor under his leadership will be provider-blind. I don’t think there will be a favouring of public providers – what I think there will be is a concentration on the interests of patients and health care. I don’t think he will do competition for competition’s sake, but he will be very interested in competition where it can be shown to benefit patients.’

The appointment came as the Department of Health announced it would not allow public and private health care providers to compete on price.

A statement issued by the DoH today said ‘there is no u-turn because we never intended to introduce price competition’. The department said it was simply continuing the previous government’s policy that competition should be on quality, not price.

However, this runs counter to a statement issued bythe DoH on January 24, which said that in its new role Monitor would ‘oversee the process of price competition’ as well as maintaining a ‘level playing field’ for public, private, and third sector providers.

Giving evidence to the Health Bill committee last week, Bennett warned against the risk to quality that price competition would bring.

He also suggested that more work should be done to make sure the public sector was not under-funded and that additional costs, such as for staff training, were taken into account.

Bennett questioned existing Department of Health analysis on the subject, and pledged that Monitor would examine distortions in the health care market to ensure all providers were compensated equally.








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