The special administrators running Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust have asked Monitor for extra time to decide the fate of its acute services, HSJ can reveal.
The trust special administrators, clinician Hugo Mascie-Taylor and Alan Bloom, of consultancy firm Ernst and Young, have formally asked the regulator for an extra 30 days to draw up draft recommendations, with an extra 10 working days for the public consultation during the summer holiday period.
The administrators were initially given 45 days from 16 April to design new services for patients after a contingency planning team ruled the West Midlands trust was clinically and financially unviable.
If Monitor decides to grant an extension, it will lay an order in Parliament and make an announcement about the new timetable for the draft report.
Dr Mascie-Taylor said: “We aren’t looking at Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals in isolation and are considering how it impacts on other providers and commissioners. Our draft recommendations need to deliver a solution that works in the long term, without just shifting the problem elsewhere.”
Mr Bloom added: “The solutions must be clinically and financially sustainable and we believe to get it right we need more time to continue our discussions with other providers and commissioners and to finalise our draft recommendations.
“It would be a disservice to the people served by Stafford and Cannock Chase hospitals and its staff to not request the additional time we believe we need to develop our proposals fully.
“We regret the uncertainty that this delay would create as staff and local people are understandably keen to know what the future holds.”
A report by Monitor’s contingency planning team, compiled by Ernst & Young and McKinsey, concluded in January that the £155m turnover trust was neither clinically nor financially sustainable in its current form.
The review found the trust, which received a £20m bailout from the Department of Health in 2012-13, would need to find £53m in savings and £73m in subsidies over the next five years to break even.
A lack of specialists in accident and emergency as well as its general surgery department meant Mid Staffordshire was not clinically viable, the CPT report said.
It recommended the trust services be reduced, with the removal of emergency surgery, critical care and maternity.
Urgent care, ante- and postnatal maternity services, and the majority of paediatric visits and elective day cases would remain at the trust’s two hospitals in Stafford and Cannock, it suggested.
The trust, which was at the centre of the public inquiry into poor care led by Robert Francis QC, is the first foundation trust to be subjected to the “failure regime” powers granted to Monitor under the 2012 Health Act.