More needs to be done to boost the quality of NHS boards, regulator Monitor has warned.

Speaking at an NHS Confederation seminar on board quality, Monitor’s policy director Robert Harris said it was “telling” that a lot of board members were “weeded out” as trusts went through its processes.

Monitor has launched a new training programme for non-executive directors in a bid to improve board functions.

Mr Harris said: “I’d be really pleased if as a result of attending a [training] course some non-executive directors thought ‘this isn’t for me’ and we got a different calibre of person stepping forward.”

He also warned boards were still not considering the right issues: “We don’t look at the right things - we don’t look at the big things.

“How many of us have looked at car parking, ad infinitum?”

But he acknowledged that the regulator needed to change its own focus in order to work best with the NHS as a whole.

He said: “Our organisation has been a little bit inward in the past - only looking at what foundation trusts do rather than looking at how foundation trusts integrate with primary care trusts. We’ve got to get cuter in this.”

Monitor said trusts should scrutinise the role, relationships, strategy and operational performance of their boards.

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