The Mid Staffordshire NHS foundation trust is providing safe care now but will not be able to do so on a sustainable basis in the future, according to an independent investigation for the health sector regulator.
Mid Staffs is not financially sustainable in its current form because, despite all the efforts not only of the trust but of the local health service, we do not have a plan which brings us to financial break even by 2015. Similar financial challenges are being faced across the country by smaller general hospitals.
Like many smaller district general hospitals our services are not clinically sustainable in their current form.
This is because medicine has and will continue to become more specialised and smaller hospitals cannot attract or resource the specialist teams and infrastructure required to maintain such services
Although specialist services cannot be provided in every hospital, communities need to be able to access specialist care. One solution is to network (that is share) services with larger, specialist hospitals, which is something Mid Staffs has already begun to do successfully.
There are no immediate concerns over the care being offered at through the trust at present experts in the Contingency Planning Team advised the the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, Monitor, that this will not be sustainable.
The report says that Mid Staffs is one of the smallest trusts in the country with relatively low levels of patients attending accident and emergency, and requiring non-elective surgery and maternity services.
This means the two hospitals at Stafford and Cannock Chase will find it increasingly difficult to provide adequate professional experience for consultants, and support them in the numbers recommended to maintain a high quality service in the long term.
The Department of Health gave the Trust £20m last year
The investigation found that in order to break even, the Trust would need to make £53m of savings in five years (equating to 7% of its annual budget every year)
The Trust would still require a £73m subsidy from the Department over the period.
A challenged foundation trust is providing safe care now but will not be able to do so on a sustainable basis in the future, according to an independent investigation for the health sector regulator.
The findings were published in an interim report from a team of experts tasked by Monitor with examining whether Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in its current form is able to provide services to local patients in the long term.
The team reported that the Trust is not clinically sustainable in its present form and cannot break even without compromising future clinical services.