Monitor will publish a “black list” of hospital services which must be reconfigured under an eleventh hour change to the Health Bill.
The government has agreed an amendment which will see Monitor publish regular lists of services and organisations which it believes are unviable, HSJ understands.
It will require the relevant trusts, clinical commissioning groups and the NHS Commissioning Board to work together to propose major service change which will make the services sustainable.
Former Labour health minister Lord Warner, who has negotiated the change, told HSJ: “If the commissioning board or CCGs don’t then do anything about it they would in effect be failing in their responsibilities. They would be leaving themselves open to direction by the secretary of state.”
He described the list which would be published by Monitor as a “black list” or “sheet of shame”.
It comes as the government attempts to push the beleaguered bill through its final stages in Parliament. It is understood ministers are seeking to time the Health Bill third reading for 20 March, and hoping controversy surrounding it will then subside. It will have to have a final reading in the Commons, but that could be completed quickly.
Lord Warner’s amendment is intended to create a “pre failure regime” under which national organisations can press local health economies into reconfiguring services without trusts being put into administration. Lord Warner has been pressing for the creation of the mechanism, along with former Monitor non-executive director and medic Baroness Murphy.
The amendment, to be laid in coming days, will say provider trusts which ask for subsidies above standard payment rates should be automatically considered for the list.
That is likely to act as a disincentive for trusts to ask for the above-tariff payments, which some CCGs fear could unfairly drain their budgets.
Lord Warner said: “It means Monitor will act before failure happens and the commissioning board is likely to say to CCGs, ‘Get your act together’.
“The government are beginning to realise what the reality is. You have got acute foundation trusts which have had 10 years to become an FT. Nothing is going to change unless somebody [intervenes].”
Meanwhile, the government also last week said it would accept an amendment from Lord Warner and Baroness Murphy under which the health secretary will be able to order the transfer of NHS funds to local authorities, for example for social care and housing.
That reflects powers which currently exist but could have disappeared under the bill.