The chief executive of England's only foundation trust to take over a failing hospital has urged the government to make acquisitions more attractive.
In an exclusive article for HSJ, Heart of England foundation trust chief executive Mark Goldman warns ministers not to rely on 'heroism'. His comments follow plans to replace managers at failing trusts with teams from the private sector or other NHS organisations.
He says: "Repairing those broken organisations should not be on the basis of acts of heroism by turnaround teams or by putting perfectly good organisations at risk... A foundation trust performing a rescue act without expectation of added value is simply bad business."
Without transfer of assets it is hard to see the attraction for the private sector, he says.
Dr Goldman adds that the onus is on the NHS to create attractive opportunities for foundation trusts, which are alone in having the governance arrangements, management skills and organisational stability for the task.
Successful trusts should not be expected to prop up struggling organisations without clear rewards. It is down to the Department of Health to decide what these are, but "no-one expects a 'sweetheart deal'", he says.
In 2003, Good Hope Hospital in Birmingham was taken over by private firm Tribal. It continued to struggle financially and Tribal withdrew two years into the agreed three-year contract. Good Hope was absorbed by Heart of England last April in the first arrangement of its kind. The trust is now in surplus and is investing£90m in new facilities at Good Hope.
Dr Goldman says factors likely to lead to a successful takeover include whether the merging businesses are similar, if they retain senior managers and if the merged trust becomes a single entity.
Read the full article by Mark Goldman