A decision to delay a key ministerial announcement on the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust by nine working days cost Monitor up to £125,000, HSJ can exclusively reveal.

According to an internal e-mail released by the regulator under the Freedom of Information Act, the health secretary had been due to accept the recommendations of the Mid Staffs Trust Special Administrators on 13 February.

Monitor was alerted to the nine-day delay by Jeremy Hunt’s office and would attract a financial cost, the e-mail from the regulator’s enforcement director Katherine Cawley to Jason Dorsett, its director of finance reporting and risk indicates. He finally made the announcement on 26 February.

“We have received notification that the secretary of state is no longer making his announcement as planned tomorrow,” it states. “Whilst we expect the secretary of state to take a positive decision it is now not likely to be until 24/25 February.”

It adds: “From a finance perspective this will add [circa] 125k to the overall contract value”.

The financial cost of the delay gives an indication of the scale of cost of the special administration process and raises further questions about the value for money of the dissolution of Mid Staffs. As reported in HSJ, the whole process could cost £15m.

Monitor began the process for the administration of Mid Staffs in April last year after the scandal-hit trust was judged to be “unsustainable”. The regulator appointed consultancy firm EY as the trust special administrators to manage the trust and develop proposals for how it could be wound down.

The TSAs final recommendations were published in December, but required final sign off by first Monitor and then the health secretary.

A spokesman for Monitor said: “The contract with EY recognised that it was unclear at what point the secretary of state would take his decision as he had up to 30 working days to make his assessment.

“During this period the TSAs were required to continue running the trust and also manage their own office, so the final bill would reflect the actual time spent managing the affairs of the trust.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The secretary of state used the time allowed to him in legislation to consider the TSAs’ recommendations. Given the significance of the decision, it is right that the options were considered carefully. The final date for the announcement was decided on the basis of a number of practical considerations.”

Mid Staffs special administration delay cost £125k