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Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust: Assessment of Sustainability

Published on: 17 January 2013

This is the interim report from the Contingency Planning Team tasked by Monitor to examine whether Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is able, in its current form, to provide services to local patients in the long term.

Download - Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust: Assessment of Sustainability - (2.48 MB)

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the role of Monitor is expanding. The legislation makes clear the primary duty of the new sector regulator is to protect and promote the interests of people who use healthcare services. As part of this revised role, Monitor has acquired new powers to ensure the continuity of services for patients if a provider's financial viability puts them at risk.

An independent report team, made up of experts from Ernst & Young and McKinsey & Company, was appointed by Monitor in September to examine viable long term solutions for providing services to patients in Mid Staffordshire. The work of the Contingency Planning Team (CPT) in Mid Staffordshire is modelled on the framework set out in the Act.

Assessment of sustainability: report conclusions

After a programme of engagement with the Trust's Executive team and senior management and local commissioners, the CPT have now reported back to Monitor with their conclusions:

  • Significant improvements have been made to the way the Trust is run and there are no immediate concerns about the care patients are receiving, the experts in the CPT advised Monitor that this will not be sustainable;
  • Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is one of the smallest trusts in the country with relatively low levels of patients attending accident and emergency, and requiring non-elective surgery and maternity services. This means the two hospitals at Stafford and Cannock Chase will find it increasingly difficult to provide adequate professional experience for consultants, and support them in the numbers recommended to maintain a high quality service in the long term.
  • Without continuing cash support, the Trust is unable to pay its debts as they fall due and would be deemed insolvent. The Department of Health gave the Trust £20m last year. The CPT's investigation found that in order to break even, the Trust would need to make £53m of savings in five years (equating to 7% of its annual budget every year) and still require a £73m subsidy from the Department over the period.

The CPT are now considering how services should be provided in a way which meets the needs of patients in the Mid Staffordshire area and is also sustainable. This will include assessing whether some services should be moved to existing or new providers in the area and who these providers might be. It will reflect the views of commissioners from Stafford and Cannock as to which services it is essential to maintain locally.

The CPT will recommend a solution in its final report to Monitor in the coming months.

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