•  Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust was one of the first trusts to enter financial special measures
  • Trust’s new chair and chief executive praised for their “grip”

A trust has been taken out of financial special measures after over two years – because it has reduced its underlying deficit by £15m and is making progress on efficiency and productivity savings.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust was one of the first trusts to be put into the regime after rejecting its financial target for 2016-17.

NHS Improvement announced today it would be removed because of improvements in financial planning and improvement – and praised the chair David Highton and chief executive Miles Scott. 

The pair had provided “stability, scrutiny and grip” around the trust’s financial position, NHS Improvement said. Mr Highton joined the trust in May 2017 and Mr Scott in January this year.

Stephen Hay, deputy chief executive and executive director of regulation, NHS Improvement said: “This decision reflects the determination and hard work of all staff at the trust over the last two years to deliver major improvements in their financial performance. While there remains more to do, everyone at the trust should be congratulated for their contribution to reach this landmark.

“There is strong evidence to show that high quality care and financial grip go hand in hand. The trust must now maintain these improvements in financial management while continuously improving the quality of, and access to, services for local patients.”

Mr Scott also linked the trust’s clinically led quality improvement approach to financial sustainability. While the trust is still rated “requires improvement,” the Care Quality Commission praised it for “significant and sustained improvements” in a report this year – and rated the leadership as good.  

Mr Highton added: “Today’s decision is another important step for MTW on its way to becoming an outstanding NHS trust. We welcome this national recognition of our progress and will continue to take steps to reach our full potential.”   

After going into financial special measures in August 2016, the trust missed its control total for that financial year by over £6m and in 2017-18 delivered a £10.9m deficit (including sustainability and transformation funding) which was £17.6m adverse to its original plan.