Mid-Staffs could go into administration

28 Feb 13
Views are being sought on whether to put the troubled Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust into administration.

By Vivienne Russell | 28 February 2013

Views are being sought on whether to put the troubled Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust into administration.

Regulator Monitor today announced that it was consulting with the health secretary and other stakeholders over the appointment of special administrators to lead changes at the trust.

A Contingency Planning Team sent to Mid-Staffordshire five months ago concluded earlier this year that the trust was not clinically or financially sustainable in the long term in its current form.

If the decision to appoint administrators is taken, Mid-Staffordshire would be the first foundation– self-governing – trust to be taken over in this way. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 gave Monitor powers over failed foundation trusts that parallel those the health secretary has to put NHS trusts into administration.

David Bennett, chief executive of Monitor, said: ‘We are now consulting on whether to appoint trust special administrators with the expertise to reorganise services in a way which is clinically robust and sustainable. Their priority will be to make sure that patients can continue to access the services they need and they will work with the local community to do this.’

Bennett added that, given the consultation process, it would be several weeks before special administrators were in place.

If appointed, the special administrators would work with commissioners and other local health organisations to develop a final plan for service reorganisation and delivery. This would then go out to public consultation and no changes would be made until the health secretary approved the plan.

Trust board chair Professor John Caldwell said the consultation on the appointment of administrators was a ‘significant step’.

He said: ‘We have accepted for some time that Mid-Staffordshire Foundation Trust working alone cannot produce a long-lasting solution to the issues we face to ensure financial and clinical sustainability. We will continue to work with our regulators and commissioners to deliver the services they require to our local community.’

Earlier this month, senior barrister Robert Francis published the conclusions of his three-year public inquiry into care failings at the trust. He found that, between January 2005 and March 2009, the trust focused too heavily on meeting targets and cutting costs at the expense of ensuring basic levels of care and dignity for patients.

Among his recommendations was a Monitor review of the trust’s foundation status.


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