Lancaster and Morecambe’s health trust under new monitoring regime

Lancaster Royal Infirmary Hospital.'Accident and Emergency.
Lancaster Royal Infirmary Hospital.'Accident and Emergency.

The health trust responsible for the Lancaster and Morecambe area is under a new regime which monitors quality of care, long waiting times and poor financial performance.

Health watchdog, Monitor, is continuing its enforcement action over known or potential breaches of the new provider licence by 18 NHS foundation trusts.

The breaches under the new regulatory regime that came into force on 1 April, relate to a range of issues that had put the trusts in significant breach of their terms of authorisation under the old regime.

These issues include failure to deliver improvements in the quality of care, long waiting times (including A&E), poor financial performance or planning and failure to develop strategic plans.

Managing Director of Provider Regulation Stephen Hay said Monitor decided on the appropriate action to take after reviewing representations from the individual trusts. “It follows a period of engagement with trusts in which we reviewed their representations and then decided on the appropriate action to take.

“This is not new action, but the translation of known issues at these 18 NHS foundation trusts into the new regulatory regime laid down by parliament. We are taking enforcement action in the context of our duty to protect and promote the interests of patients. “Although the legal basis for our regulatory scrutiny has changed, Monitor continues to apply consistent and robust principles to ensure that foundation trusts are well led and able to provide good quality services for patients on a sustainable basis.”

In order to tackle these issues under the new regime, Monitor has a range of powers to ensure NHS foundation trusts take the required remedial action.

In this case, five NHS foundation trusts with a history of non-compliance or very severe issues have been ordered to put right the breaches. The NHS foundation trusts are: University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, Bolton, Tameside Hospital, Sherwood Forest Hospitals, and Kettering General Hospital.

In addition the first three of these have given legally binding undertakings to remedy other potential breaches within an agreed timescale.

The 13 other NHS foundation trusts have also given formal legally binding undertakings that they will put right potential breaches as soon as possible.

They are: Cambridge University Hospitals; Rotherham; Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals; Burton Hospitals; Derby Hospitals; Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals; Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn; Medway; Milton Keynes Hospital; Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals; Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases; Southend University Hospital; and Stockport.

Furthermore, Kettering and Rotherham have had additional licence conditions imposed to ensure the trusts are being run in a way that delivers the changes needed.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which was also found to be in significant breach of its terms of authorisation under the old regime, is now under special administration and subject to separate regulatory scrutiny.