Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation Trust has become the biggest organisation yet to be found in “significant breach” of its terms of authorisation by its regulator Monitor.
The move follows the trust, which runs one of the UK’s most prestigious teaching hospitals, failing to meet a raft of targets including for cancer treatment and accident and emergency waiting times.
Foundation trust regulator Monitor said its concerns about targets “were compounded by multiple occurrences of preventable patient safety incidents and poor financial performance”.
It added that the board had not dealt adequately with the range of issues the trust has faced in recent years.
Managing director of provider regulation Stephen Hay said: “This is not the first time we have called the trust in to explain itself. We are disappointed that the board has not resolved these issues.
“We note the trust has a new chair and will shortly appoint a new chief executive. We expect them to demonstrate they are getting the trust back on track as quickly as possible.”
Why the regulator has acted
Monitor escalated the trust because it missed its 62 day cancer (GP referral) target for the third consecutive quarter (at quarter one).
The trust’s performance was 78.1 per cent against a target of 85 per cent. The 62 day cancer targets have been breached in seven of the last eight quarters to Q1 12-13.
At quarter one the Trust had missed its referral to treatment target (admitted) for the second time in a row - performance was 85.9 per cent against a target of 90 per cent.
Also the trust missed its A&E target for two quarters in a row. It achieved 92.5 per cent against a target of 95 per cent at quarter one.
Monitor has ordered the trust to commission a wide-ranging board governance and effectiveness review with a specific scope and timescale, and instructed it to appoint an experienced turnaround expert at board level.
The watchdog added it would keep the trust “under close regulatory scrutiny and the board is required to report to the regulator on its monthly performance”.
If the situation is not resolved within the agreed timescales, Monitor may decide to take further action.
Cambridge chairman Jane Ramsey, responding, said: “We take Monitor’s concerns very seriously and we are determined to reverse the situation as soon as possible.
“My top priority, as the new chairman, will be to get to grips with these performance issues with my team and we will be setting up a taskforce to swiftly get back on track.”
Cambridge statement in full
Cambridge chairman, Jane Ramsey, said: “We take Monitor’s concerns very seriously and we are determined to reverse the situation as soon as possible. My top priority, as the new chairman, will be to get to grips with these performance issues with my team and we will be setting up a taskforce to swiftly get back on track.”
“We will be focusing on turning this trust around, so once more we can be justifiably proud of our record as one of the leading trusts in the country.”
“We are working to improve our performance on meeting targets every month but we know we could do better.
We are treating more people than ever before and our health outcomes are amongst the best in the country.
“I am committed to retaining this achievement but also to meeting the standards that are required. Our priority remains the care of our patients – they are at the heart of everything we do.”