FEEDBACK

Published: 10/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5942 Page 22

John Ryan, former chair, Bradford Teaching Hospitals trust

It must now be clear to any serious observer that the government's foundation policy is in a mess (news, page 6, 3 February).

But some people still feel that responsibility for the chaos should be borne by those three-star hospitals that leapt into the new era in good faith.

Monitor is a good example. It is worth noting that between January and March 2004 it spent£2.27m on consulting services. Such in-depth, expensive research should have left no surprises for the regulator about the risks involved in approving and monitoring new foundation trusts.

I recently researched other foundation trusts, wondering if Bradford really was so different.

Deficits, cost improvement plans and difficulties in funding government policies are common factors.

One fortunate trust used£2m from its reserves to cover the cost of the new consultant contract. For Bradford the full cost of the contract, as it emerged in July, was£3m.

Another trust recently received a cash hand-out of£15m via the strategic health authority to cover the cost of implementing the contract - but nothing yet for Bradford.

Despite being removed from office, I am minded to continue to fight for one of the nation's finest hospitals, especially as I served it as chair during its four-and-a-half most successful years.