NHS Improvement will take a “revised approach” to authorising foundation trusts when it takes over from Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority, a director has confirmed.

On the same afternoon that a report was released blaming the FT assessment process for some of the care and governance failures at Liverpool Community Health Trust, Monitor managing director of provider regulation Stephen Hay said a new system would be revealed in the summer.



The FT assessment process was blamed for some failings at Liverpool Community Health Trust

Monitor confirmed at a meeting on Tuesday that three more community trusts would be assessed under the current system. However, minutes of its February meeting said “thereafter, a revised approach would be taken to community trust applications”.

Responding to a question from HSJ at NHS Improvement’s board meeting, Mr Hay said the new assessment system would apply to all trusts, not just community trusts, and would be unveiled in “late summer”.

How this will be achieved within the existing legislation is not clear.

The February minutes said Sussex Community Trust, Wirral Community Health Services Trust and Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust will be assessed under the current rules.

They said: “The board discussed the approach to authorising community NHS foundation trusts in the context of wider policy considerations. It was agreed that impending applications from Birmingham, Sussex and Wirral Community NHS trusts should be considered in March but that, thereafter, a revised approach would be taken to community trust applications.”

A report by Capsticks into what went wrong at Liverpool Community Health Trust said there was a “sustained drive towards achieving NHS foundation trust status by the board” since 2011.

It added: “What followed until the early part of 2014 was an accompanying focus to reduce costs, which resulted in enormous pressures on many frontline services and the emergence of a culture of bullying and harassment of staff at various levels within the organisation and the delivery to some patients of poor and in some cases substandard care.”

NHS Improvement Jim Mackey chief executive said at a previous meeting that getting providers accredited as foundation trusts was a low priority.

NHS Improvement promises new way of authorising FTs