Monitor issues intervention notice to Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Published on: 29th October 2009

Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has used its formal powers of intervention to appoint - with immediate effect - an Interim Chair at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Jeffrey Ellwood has been appointed as Interim Chair following the decision of the Trust’s Chair, Robin SeQueira, to resign. In addition, Monitor has required the Trust’s Members Council to immediately commence its formal recruitment process to appoint a permanent Chair.

At its meeting yesterday, Monitor’s Board found the Trust to be in significant breach of a term of its Authorisation due to the Trust’s failure to comply with its general duty to exercise its functions effectively, efficiently and economically.

In particular, Monitor’s Board is concerned by the Trust’s ongoing financial position and the deterioration in financial performance and operational efficiency over the last twelve months.

Monitor is now intervening to ensure that the Trust has the Board-level leadership and capacity needed to return to a secure position, while at the same time ensuring patient care remains the highest priority.

Our objective in taking this regulatory action is to ensure that the Trust is well led in order to provide safe, high quality care for patients. We have taken swift action to appoint Jeffrey Ellwood as Interim Chair in order to ensure that the strategic and operational leadership is in place to stabilise the Trust and assist in its successful recovery.It is important to note that Monitor has no reason for concerns as to the quality of the clinical care provided by the Trust to its patients. The intervention relates to matters of strategic and operational leadership capacity and in response to serious financial challenges.

Notes

  1. For media enquires please contact Michael Moruzzi on 0207 340 2442 michael.moruzzi@monitor-nhsft.gov.uk 
  2. The decision to intervene at Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was taken at a meeting of Monitor’s Board on 28 October 2009. The formal notice of intervention is available on Monitor’s website http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk/home/about-nhs-foundation-trusts/nhs-foundation-trust-directory/dorset-county-hospital-nhs-foundatio
  3. Monitor assigns financial risk ratings to every NHS foundation trust on a quarterly basis. These range from 5 (lowest risk) to 1 (highest risk). The Trust is currently assigned a financial risk rating of 1, which indicates serious concerns about the financial governance of the trust. It is forecast that this rating will remain throughout the financial year 2009/10.
  4. Jeffrey Ellwood is appointed from his position as the Trust’s Vice Chair and Senior Independent Director. He retired following a long career in marketing chemicals and pharmaceuticals and several years as a company chief executive. He is also a local magistrate and chairman of the council of Brunel University.
  5. Monitor authorises and regulates NHS foundation trusts, ensuring they are well-managed and financially viable in order to deliver high quality healthcare for patients.
  6. Monitor was established in January 2004. It is independent of government and accountable to Parliament. Monitor’s functions and powers are set out in the National Health Service Act 2006.