PERFORMANCE: Monitor is to send a contingency planning team to Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn to develop options for securing sustainable patient services at the financially troubled foundation trust.

It is just the third time Monitor has sent a contingency planning team into a trust since the regime was introduced. Previously, CPTs were appointed to Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals FT in February 2013 and to Mid Staffordshire FT in October 2012. The team’s work at Mid Staffordshire cost £2.5m.

The regulatory body plans to run a tender to choose who will carry out the King’s Lynn work, which is expected to begin in July.

The team will be tasked with making recommendations to the foundation trust regulator about options for ensuring sustainable patient services at the trust.  

In a statement issued at midday today, Monitor said: “The trust has been in breach of its operating conditions since January 2012 and was placed into special measures in October 2013. At the time, Monitor had concerns that it was providing poor quality care and had weak leadership.

“Since then, an interim Chair, Chief Executive and Nursing Director have been appointed and progress has been made in several areas, particularly in [accident and emergency]. However, the trust is still forecasting that it will make a £13 million deficit in 2013-14.”

Monitor’s regional director Mark Turner said the trust is “suffering serious financial problems”.

“The people of King’s Lynn expect good quality care to be provided and our team of experts will work closely with the trust management and with local commissioners to ensure the services patients need are provided in a sustainable way.”

Chief executive Manjit Obhrai said: “We have always acknowledged that the trust faces long-term financial difficulties, which is why our regulator is providing additional support to work alongside our management team.

“They will be looking at the wider health economy within the region, to ensure our services are sustainable for the future.”