'Serious concerns' about Tameside Foundation Trust finances

2 Mar 11
Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is in 'significant breach' of the financial standards required of a foundation trust, Monitor said today.
By Lucy Phillips

2 March 2011

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is in ‘significant breach’ of the financial standards required of a foundation trust, Monitor said today.

The regulator said the Greater Manchester hospital had broken the terms of its authorisation as a foundation trust because of ‘serious concerns’ about its financial position and governance.

The trust’s finance had deteriorated during the second quarter of 2010/11 following a failure to take appropriate and timely action to control operating costs, the watchdog said.

But Monitor, which is soon to become a full blown economic regulator for all NHS trusts, will not use its formal intervention powers at this stage.

David Bennett, whotook over as chair of Monitor from Steve Bundred yesterday, said: ‘In our view, strong finances are essential in order to provide good quality healthcare. Monitor will continue to work closely with both the board at Tameside NHS Foundation Trust and with the Care Quality Commission to ensure that the trust makes a sustainable return to full compliance and to ensure the continued provision of high quality services to the Greater Manchester area.

‘If the trust does not address the issues identified satisfactorily, within the required timescales, Monitor will consider what further regulatory action is appropriate.’

Monitor’s intervention powers include requiring a board to take certain actions, closing a specific service and/or removing some or all of the directors and governors and appointing replacements.

Christine Green, chief executive ofTameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘The trust accepts Monitor’s ruling and fully understands its implications. We are working very closely with Monitor and are developing action plans to return the trust to financial stability.’

She also outlined the steps the trust, which has an annual turnover of £140m, has already taken to improve its finances. These include: reducing reliance on more expensive agency staff by increasing nursing and medical staff numbers; reducing lengths of in-patient stays; and introducing new work streams to address productivity and quality.

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