PERFORMANCE: The foundation trust regulator Monitor has announced that University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is in significant breach of the terms of its authorisation.

Monitor’s board found the trust to be in significant breach due to its failure to comply with the following terms of its authorisation:

  • exercising functions effectively, efficiently and economically;
  • governance; and
  • healthcare and other standards.

The decision to intervene has been driven by governance concerns related to the maternity unit at the trust’s Furness Hospital site. The trust has recently invited a high-level team of doctors, nurses and midwives to provide additional clinical support and advice on its maternity services, which were recently criticised by the Care Quality Commission.

However, having considered a wide range of evidence, Monitor’s board said it required further assurance that patient care will remain safe in the long term. It said: “We are concerned that the trust board has not been taking a proactive approach to identifying and addressing problems quickly enough.

To provide this assurance Monitor has issued a statutory notice of intervention requiring the trust to:

  • accept the appointment by Monitor of expert clinical advisors to review underlying problems in maternity services and its interface with paediatrics; and
  • commission an independent review into overall governance, to be agreed with Monitor, including their approach to quality governance.

In both of these actions the advisors will work with the trust to translate their findings into an improvement plan and the trust will be held to account by Monitor for delivery against the plan, the regulator said.