The chief executive of a community services trust has spoken of his “bitter disappointment” after a clinical commissioning group vetoed his organisation’s foundation trust bid.
Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust has been told by the Department of Health and NHS Midlands and East strategic health authority cluster that it cannot proceed as an FT.
The move by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG is believed to be the first time a CCG’s objection has derailed a foundation trust application.
In a statement the SHA cluster said Cambridge had failed a number of readiness tests and “GP commissioners in Cambridgeshire/Peterborough and Luton do not support the longer term aim of the trust to become a foundation trust”.
It added: “Further discussions will now take place between the trust, SHA and commissioners to agree options for the future.”
The £158m-turnover organisation had originally been due to submit its application to the DH in February this year but this was delayed to the start of November after missing targets.
Chief executive Matthew Winn: “The trust is bitterly disappointed that we are not going to be allowed to go down the foundation route. We have been working on this for quite a few years now.
“The new CCG in Cambridge and Peterborough want to commission services in a very different way going forward and have questioned the benefits of having another FT on the patch.
“It’s a bold move by the CCG and one that will have to be worked out in terms of its detail and deliverability.”
He added: “Recently concluded external assessments confirm the significant progress we have made and our ‘readiness’ to operate as a foundation trust.“
HSJ reported last month that aspirant community foundation trusts were falling behind other trusts in the foundation trust pipeline, with many missing application dates.
There are two aspirant community foundation trusts at the Monitor stage of authorisation, Derbyshire Community Health Services Trust and Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust, plus another, Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust, at the earlier stage requiring DH approval.
Cambridgeshire’s chair Heather Peck said: ““We are of course disappointed that becoming a foundation trust will no longer be an option for us, given the significant progress we have achieved.
“While the foundation trust route is no longer open to us, we intend to seize every opportunity to work with the GP clinical commissioning groups to continue to ensure high quality and innovative services for our patients and communities.”
Dr Neil Modha, chief clinical officer of shadow Cambridgeshire and Peterborough shadow clinical commissioning group, said:“The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Shadow Commissioning Group (CCG) is made up of all the GP practices in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and we were asked to give out view on supporting Cambridgeshire Community Services application for foundation trust status.
“GP members were clear that the CCG, as an emerging organisation, needs to retain as much flexibility over future service configuration as possible, including the ability to make changes on how community services are delivered in the future.
“We realise that this is a disappointment for the CCS management team and appreciate the work they have put into strengthening the organisation. We would also like to emphasise that we recognise the significant effort and commitment CCS staff continue to put into improving existing services and localising their delivery and we look forward to continuing to work closely together as our plans develop over the coming months.”