PERFORMANCE: Monitor has invoked its powers of intervention to install a new chairman at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, following rising concern about the quality of care and leadership at the foundation.

The foundation trust regulator has appointed Sir David Henshaw, chair of Alder Hey Children’s FT, as interim chair of the troubled Cumbrian foundation. It has also ordered Morecambe Bay to appoint an interim chief operating officer, and a turnaround director to “develop and deliver an effective recovery plan”.

A statement issued by Monitor this afternoon said: “Monitor’s Board found the trust in significant breach of the terms of its authorisation in October 2011. We intervened at that stage to appoint clinical experts to review underlying problems in maternity services and to require the trust to commission an independent review into overall governance. We also required the trust to fix the problems identified by the reviews.

“Monitor’s original concerns about governance and leadership at the trust have been reinforced by the findings of these reviews and an additional review into problems with outpatient follow-up appointments.”

Morecambe Bay was placed in significant breach following a damning review of its maternity services by the Care Quality Commission earlier last year. The regulator last week issued an urgent warning to Morecambe Bay to increase staffing at its Royal Lancaster Infirmary, following a subsequent unannounced inspection of its accident and emergency department, and has begun an investigation into the provider’s emergency care.

In a letter advising the foundation of Monitor’s decision, the regulator wrote: “There continue to be concerns regarding the capability of the board and the effectiveness of its leadership, given the extensive issues which have arisen under their tenure and the manner and pace at which these issues have been addressed if at all.”

Monitor said its “action in strengthening the board of the trust will ensure that it is also able to deal more effectively with the issues raised in the CQC’s recent warning notice”.

Stephen Hay, Monitor’s chief operating officer, said: “Sir David Henshaw is an experienced chair and it will be his job to take whatever action is necessary to fix the problems so that patient care is delivered to the standards they should be able to expect - now and in the future.”

Sir David also served as chief executive of Liverpool City Council.

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