Two working days to go until the end of September and one of the trusts HSJ reported was too small to go it alone has announced its decision.
George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton sent a press release at 10pm last night confirming it was giving up the independent FT ghost.
The Department of Health has repeatedly said the Tripartite Formal Agreements will be signed off “by the end of September” - something senior sources express some scepticism about.
As of 11.02am on Thursday 16 acute trust TFAs have been published on the DH’s compilation site, leaving only 56.
At least George Eliot actually made an announcement, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare seem to have let news of their non-independent future slip out in some minutes.
At SASH’s July meeting one non-executive asked for a sentence in their original TFA to be “softened”.
Softened from “it will not be possible for SASH to achieve FT status without joining with a partner(s)” to something more like “It will not be possible for SASH to achieve FT status without adopting a new organisational form”.
Which sentence made it in we will soon see, SASH’s board were due to look at the final version of the TFA today.
The document is not among the publicly-available papers for the meeting though.
Another organisation widely expected to announce the same, Weston Area Health Trust, is being similarly coy about publishing its TFA.
Perhaps it’s not signed off yet but the board at their last meeting said something that sounded like an acknowledgement that Weston (£90m turnover, 6.6% CIP) would be downsizing.
The minutes reported: “There is a general consensus that there will continue to be a hospital in Weston offering emergency services and a range of other services linked increasingly closely to community and primary services and social care provisions.”
Monitor may soon have to look to its definitions of what is and isn’t an acute trust.