BRADFORD CRISIS

Published: 16/12/2004, Volume II4, No. 5936 Page 6

The independent regulator has removed the chair of Bradford Teaching Hospitals foundation trust.

The board of Monitor removed John Ryan using its powers to remove board members under section 23 of the Health and Social Care (community health and standards) Act 2003.

As HSJ went to press on Tuesday, the trust would only say it was taking legal advice about whether to challenge Monitor's decision.

Monitor asked Mr Ryan to justify his position last week, when he was issued with a 'draft' section 23 notice, to alert the trust that the regulator was considering formally intervening. On Tuesday the trust was issued with a formal notice.

Mr Ryan will be replaced on an interim basis with former regional director Peter Garland, who led Northern and Yorkshire region before becoming director of health and social care for the North.

As Mr Ryan was removed, Monitor also announced that the trust's recovery plan, presented on 30 November, had been rejected.

In a statement, the Monitor board said the plan did not provide a 'credible or adequate response to the current financial difficulties', including a forecast year-end deficit of£11.3m, compared to an original forecast of a£2.4m surplus. However, last Wednesday health minister John Hutton agreed to provide the trust with a working capital facility to cover its deficit at 31 March 2005.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said that the funding would be 'dependent on the development of an agreed financial recovery plan with Monitor'. She added that 'in the interim, the DoH will ensure that staff and key suppliers continue to get paid'.

At a health select committee public expenditure inquiry hearing last week, health secretary John Reid told MPs that there was no 'imminent' threat to patient services as a result of the hospital's financial problems.

'The problem here is connected with the financial management and not the provision of NHS services directly. As I understand it, there is no reason for me to intervene, ' Mr Reid said.