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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

The important point is that the system will keep Monitor as the decision maker in the process. Monitor will still have the role of making a decision, but it will have to explain and justify in a public forum why it reached it. I understand from advice that Monitor is comfortable with the position that we have reached. It has gone through the process with us and considered the matter, and it can understand why we feel that in certain circumstances, when a serious case arises, Ministers need to be able to make a request to it. It will then make a decision whether to de-authorise, after which the trust will be in a position in which Ministers can take action quickly.

My hon. Friend will recall that what happened in the case of Mid Staffordshire, with reasonable speed, was that as soon as the report came out Monitor acted to put in place temporary managers. One problem, as he will recall, was that the chief executive, who by all accounts was a talented individual, was part-time and was also working elsewhere for another hospital. That was not satisfactory in the view of much of the public in Stafford, and various local MPs, including my hon. Friend Mr. Kidney, made representations expressing the view that we needed to put in place new, full-time management, particularly a chief executive. Through discussions with Monitor, we were able to ensure that that happened. My hon. Friend Dr. Wright will be aware of the detail of the process, so I do not need to outline it. If my hon. Friend is asking whether Ministers will be able to crash into the whole process, yank out a trust and say, "You are no longer a foundation trust, and as a Minister I am going to do this", the answer is no. Ministers will not have that power, but they will work through Monitor to see whether there is a way of ensuring that the best approach is taken.

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