STRUCTURE: Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust could take over day-to-day management of North Cumbria from April, months before its proposed acquisition of the trust can be completed, board papers state.

The financially challenged trust could sign a management contract allowing Northumbria to take over its management from next month, according to a report to NCUH’s February board meeting. The contract would last until the deal had been cleared by regulators and the Department of Health.

The paper states: “A management contract will require agreement from the SHA and Monitor, which would not be automatic because it may be seen as anticipating regulatory and DH approval for the acquisition.

“Conversely, a management contract would allow the FT to become more familiar with the trust, its operations and staff, but it should be noted that in the period leading up to final approval of the acquisition any major changes proposed by the FT would require, in the first instance, approval from the trust board.”