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The Department is currently examining the private finance initiative issue in a small number of trusts where it cannot be resolved locally. As part of the potential provision of financial support to specific national health service trusts going forward to support them achieve foundation trust status, this is being considered. The framework and process have not been finalised. However, in relation to any support, which might be provided to trusts, the Department has outlined four key tests that they would have to meet:
the problems they face must be exceptional and beyond those faced by other organisations; they must show that the problems are historic and that they have a clear plan to manage their resources in the future; they must show that they are delivering high levels of annual productivity savings; and they must deliver clinically viable, high quality services, including low waiting times and other performance measures.
Any specific decisions in relation to St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust will be determined following the finalisation of the analysis and this framework.