FINANCE Bradford board to present recovery strategy to Monitor

Published: 02/12/2004, Volume II4, No. 5934 Page 8

Bradford Teaching Hospitals foundation trust waited this week to learn whether the foundations regulator, Monitor, will back its plans for financial recovery.

As HSJ went to press on Tuesday, the board of the struggling firstwave foundation trust was expected to present a detailed recovery plan to Monitor in response to US auditors Alvarez and Marsal's review of its financial position.

The trust last week said it could face a 'worst-case scenario' deficit totalling£11.3m at the end of the financial year. However the trust has contradicted Monitor's allegations that the figure could be 'conceivably higher' and has said it should achieve a much smaller deficit through its recovery plan.

The plan's cost-cutting measures include freezing recruitment, not using agency staff, and accelerating plans to transfer inpatient services from St Luke's Hospital to Bradford Royal Infirmary to allow the closure and demolition of wards at the St Luke's site.

According to Monitor, A&M's headline recommendations include 'strengthening' financial systems, 'resolving differences' with local primary care trusts, developing the trust board and 'enabling the trust to stand alone and live with the financial realities' of payment by results.

A spokesperson for the trust said: 'Like many NHS hospitals, Bradford is facing real financial challenges which we are determined to overcome with the support of our clinical staff. This determination, knowledge and proven track record of good financial management should provide Monitor with the confidence it needs to allow us to get back into balance.' A meeting between health secretary John Reid and the four Bradford MPs to discuss the crisis, expected last week, was delayed until this week. But HSJ understands the health secretary has not yet responded to a meeting request from the trust's medical directors (news, page 5, 25 November).

Meanwhile Monitor is to undertake a 'proper analysis' of its own processes in the run-up to its decision to authorise the trust's foundation application in March this year.