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Monitor issues intervention notice to Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust

27th November 2009

Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has used its regulatory powers to remove Mr Richard Bourne as Chair of the Trust with immediate effect and appoint Sir Peter Dixon as interim Chair of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust with effect from Monday 30 November 2009.

The decision to intervene was taken by Monitor’s Board at its monthly meeting at which the Board found the Trust in significant breach of its Authorisation.

Regulatory action has been prompted by the Trust’s failure to comply with healthcare standards; its failure to exercise its functions effectively, efficiently and economically; and serious and wide ranging concerns as to overall governance and leadership at the Trust.

In particular Monitor’s Board concluded that the Trust had failed to demonstrate enough progress and sustained improvement across a number of areas, reflecting failures in governance which gave rise to concerns of performance in:

  • 18 weeks admitted patient waiting time for treatment
  • A&E 4 hour waiting time target
  • 31- and 62-day cancer waiting time targets
  • Patient safety indicators
  • Patient satisfaction
  • Board leadership and governance

Monitor’s Board noted in particular that the Trust as at quarter two 2008/09 is red rated by Monitor for governance risk due to failure to deliver the 18 weeks target over three consecutive quarters from quarter four in 2008/09;  that the Trust did not meet its 62 day cancer target in the second quarter of 2009/10, the Trust had failed to improve its relative position on standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) from 2007/08 to 2008/09 and its Annual Health Check performance for quality of services had moved from excellent (2007/08) to fair (2008/09).

Although the Trust has made some progress over the last six months to improve its performance against some healthcare targets, the rate of progress had been slower than expected and even where targets are now being achieved, such as in A&E waits, the Trust recognised that performance was fragile.

Having given full consideration to these issues, and the various options for regulatory action, Monitor decided a change in Board leadership was most likely to assist in a rapid and sustained return to compliance with the terms of its Authorisation. Monitor’s Board has therefore taken action to ensure that the Trust has the Board-level leadership capacity to secure on an ongoing basis safe, high quality care for its patients.

Commenting on the intervention, Monitor’s Executive Chairman, William Moyes said:

“We have taken this decision to ensure the Trust has the Board leadership capacity to address our concerns. Ultimately this is about making sure the Trust is in a position to identify risks and challenges that affect patient services and then deliver an effective response.

“Sir Peter Dixon is a highly experienced Chair of a successful foundation trust that has successfully addressed challenges of its own. I am confident his leadership will benefit Colchester Hospital University by providing strategic board-level leadership.”

Sir Peter Dixon’s term as interim Chair will conclude when the Trust has demonstrated that it can return to compliance with its Authorisation and at that time we will expect the Trust’s governors to commence a permanent appointment to the role.

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Article Information

Title: Monitor issues intervention notice to Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 13406
Date Added: 27th Nov 2009



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