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NHS foundation trust plans reveal significant investment

26th September 2008

Foundation trusts have signalled their response to Lord Darzi’s NHS review with plans for capital expenditure of £1.4billion. Significant investments will include the provision of services previously delivered by primary care trusts and some major redevelopment plans. The investments will enable trust to develop services and make improvements to the environment in which they are provided. Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has highlighted some of the main themes emerging from its review of annual plans in a new report published today.

The strong financial performance of foundation trusts is expected to continue in 2008/09, with a combined net surplus (before exceptional items) of £339milion forecast. Most foundation trusts intend to utilise their financial freedoms, some to deliver ambitious developments over the short to medium term. Over the next few years Monitor expects to see an increasing number of trusts using their surplus income and cash balances as a platform to undertake staged redevelopment and replacement of existing facilities.

Monitor’s Executive Chairman, William Moyes, said:

“Lord Darzi’s review set an agenda for improvement for foundation trusts to respond to. We have highlighted previously caution in committing to significant projects, reflecting the relatively short period since the first NHS foundation trusts were authorised and also an uncertain operating environment. But evidence emerging from several trusts suggests they are beginning to better understand risks and potential opportunities, and design increasingly ambitious plans. Most importantly their patients should benefit from investments in new and improved facilities, together with higher quality services.”

“We are also seeing foundation trusts looking at options for the extension of services into other areas. This may be through the provision of primary care services, or by merger and acquisition - although this will not provide a cure for every poor performing organisation. As this evolves, it will bring the option of being treated by high quality, well managed foundation trusts to more NHS patients.”

In the area of governance, MRSA and C.difficile, a new national target for 2008/09, are seen as the key risks in the delivery of service performance. Most NHS foundation trust boards are anticipating the successful delivery of all of the main targets within the contractual arrangements agreed with their commissioners. The delivery of 18-weeks waiting targets by the end of 2008 is not seen as a risk by any.

Commenting on the governance risk ratings, William Moyes said:

“Monitor takes infection control very seriously. The introduction of targets to reduce C.difficile is another driver for ensuring trust boards are focusing on safety and quality. The annual planning process is an important tool for the boards of NHS foundation trusts – it is not just about what they want to achieve, but also about assessing and understanding the risks they face.”


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Article Information

Title: NHS foundation trust plans reveal significant investment
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 8544
Date Added: 26th Sep 2008

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