FINANCE: Two trusts breached their private patient caps in 2010-11, Monitor’s annual report on foundation trusts has revealed.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital Foundation Trust and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals Foundation Trust both exceeded the limits that were set for them upon their authorisation to become FTs.

Liverpool Women’s said a change in accounting requirements issued by Monitor in February 2010 had meant a contract with a private company that was originally outside the definition of private income was now included, causing the trust to breach the cap of £1.2m by £719,000.

The trust said it “has taken actions to resolve this for future years”.

Basildon and Thurrock had its private patient income cap set at 0.7 per cent of its income in 2004.

When the trust’s Essex Cardiothoracic Centre was opened in 2007 it was leased to private firm Ramsey to run as a private facility.

The trust said in a statement the rule change meant the lease income was now counted towards the cap and it had considered terminating the contract, “but potential damages would have been payable and [it] would therefore not be in the taxpayer’s interest”.

It breached the cap by nearly 50 per cent, recording 1 per cent private income.

A spokeswoman said: “We are working with Ramsey to return income to within the cap while not damaging future opportunities once the cap is removed.” 

Monitor’s consolidated annual accounts said: “Both trusts have in place an action plan to address the risk of further breaches in future years.”

The private patient cap could be removed if the Health Bill becomes law as the government has not proposed amendments to retain it.