HSJ’s revelation that Royal Surrey County Hospital was the foundation trust selling millions of pounds of drugs on the export market requires some answers from its board.

Despite the Department of Health branding the practice “wholly unacceptable” and warning such actions could trigger shortages, Royal Surrey kept selling for another six months.

The trust says it saw “an opportunity to make a margin” and claimed it was simply being entrepreneurial. It refuses to name the drugs it sold.

This is perfect ammunition for opponents of foundation trusts who claim the model encourages hospitals to focus on their accounts at the expense of patients. The trust board must explain what it knew and whether it stands by the drug sales.