COMMERCIAL: Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust has submitted plans to Monitor for how it will run a tender process which could see the debt stricken trust enter a franchise agreement with a private provider.

The trust, which has annual debts of over £40m resulting from a disastrous PFI deal, expects to publish the tender in the summer, providing the foundation trust watchdog signs off the process.

A statement by the trust said: “Our tender plan was submitted to Monitor on 31 March. And we are awaiting their comments and feedback.Our formal procurement exercise is currently planned to start in the summer.

“Any future solution to the trust’s financial sustainability will also need to improve the quality of clinical outcomes and patient care.

“Whatever the outcome, services would continue to be run from Peterborough City Hospital and Stamford Hospital sites.”

A trust spokeswoman added: “We haven’t yet approached any bidders.”  

The trust said potential responses to the tender process could include:

  • One or more new providers delivering services from the current trust estate
  • An integrated joint venture - for example, secondary and primary care
  • A merger between acute hospitals (including acquisition)
  • A new operator running the trust’s services (franchise model)

A Monitor spokesman told HSJ: “The trust has complied with a deadline to submit an action plan for how they intend to run the tender.”

HSJ understands the tender is likely to attract offers from a raft of private providers including Circle, Serco and Care UK. It may also interest larger NHS providers.

The trust was deemed “financially unsustainable in its current form” by a team of independent investigators appointed by Monitor last summer.

A report by the accountancy firm PwC, appointed by Monitor in February to investigate the trust’s finances, said it would not be able to pay its bills without continuing external support.

The PFI, which is the underlying cause of the trust’s perilous financial position, has 30 years left to run.