The trust special administration process established to dissolve Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust should be overhauled to make it more “financially efficient”, two of the chiefs taking over its services have said.
Mark Hackett, chief executive of the new University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust, which on Saturday began running Stafford Hospital said the process should be reviewed in light of the expense and the time it took.
This view was echoed by Chris Bown, interim managing director at Stafford Hospital, which was renamed County Hospital on the same day.
The trust special administration process is understood to have cost in excess of £15m and took one year and seven months to complete. The public inquiry into poor care Mid Staffordshire chaired by Sir Robert Francis QC cost £13.6m.
Mr Hackett, who joined the trust last year, said the special administration process had a “down side”, despite creating a positive outcome for Staffordshire.
“We spent a lot of public money between the TSA and the hospitals selected as partners to develop the acquisition.
“We need a much more financially efficient way of doing this. The process needs to be reviewed.”
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While healthcare organisations that hit major service or financial difficulties needed a means to exit the market, policymakers had to come up with a different regime, Mr Hackett added.
“We can’t balk at the fact the country is going to have to look at how it supports the market exit of providers in the long term.”
He described the process as a rollercoaster, adding: “Would I want to go through one of these again? Absolutely not.”
County Hospital managing director Chris Bown said: “[Mid Staffordshire] was a huge problem.
“It is no surprise that with Mid Staffordshire you might need a sledgehammer to crack a nut but to use this process routinely to develop a configuration of services? There has got to be a better way.
“This isn’t the right model because the solutions to these sorts of enormous problems aren’t in one organisation.
“There does need to be some mechanism that obliges organisations to work together for the greater good of patients.”
Mr Bown described the £250m investment in the new trust as a “line in the sand” for Mid Staffordshire.
“While we mustn’t forget what happened here, we have to learn from that and we have an investment now which will make something special I think.”
A spokesman for Monitor said the trust special administration process was “not used lightly” and “is the last resort to enable significant change to happen quickly at the most challenged hospitals”.
He added that Monitor was taking a different approach working with commissioners in places like Milton Keynes, King’s Lynn and Tameside.
Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust will continue as a legal shell entity until November 2017 to discharge the trust’s ongoing criminal liabilities.
It is still facing a criminal investigation into the death of patient Ivy Bunn in 2008 and an ongoing review by Staffordshire Police of more than 200 cases of alleged neglect that could have led to a patient’s death between 2005 and 2009.