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New Clause 12 — De-authorisation of NHS foundation trusts

Part of New Member – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 12th October 2009.

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Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health 4:45 pm, 12th October 2009

We have discussed the process with Monitor and made it clear that we want it to be relatively quick. The hon. Gentleman will know from his experience as a Staffordshire MP that there were concerns about how that matter was dealt with and the speed. We therefore need to ensure that there is sufficient time to deal with the issues so that Monitor is able to receive a request from the Secretary of State, in that particular part of the process. The Secretary of State will determine whether he believes that the situation requires such a request. Monitor will then have 14 days-it will be able to apply for more time if it wishes-to take a view as to whether de-authorisation is the appropriate process. If it decides that it is not, and that it can deal with the matter by taking various steps, it will say so and have to set out its reasons.

If Monitor takes the view that de-authorisation is necessary, there will be a further stage in the process. We must not get mixed up about which stage we are talking about. At that stage, Monitor will be able to consult governors, the relevant strategic health authority and the various other parties that are directly affected, including the commissioners for the trust involved.

I make no apologies for the fact that the system is complicated, but in practice, given the urgency and rareness of the situation in question, we need to be able to deal with problems expeditiously. It is important to make the point that, thankfully, we do not expect situations such as that in mid-Staffordshire to arise with any regularity. On the contrary, we believe that the process will be very, very exceptional. However, the criteria need to be set out on which each party that has to make decisions, such as the Secretary of State and Monitor, can do so. The speed at which decisions can be made and the various consultations involved will be allowed for in the process, because various organisations have an interest in the matter.

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