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Effectiveness of health regulator called into question

An influential group of MPs has called into question the effectiveness of Health regulator Monitor. The regulator "must get better" at identifying NHS hospital trusts at risk of failure, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

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Just 7 of Monitor staff had background in medicine

Just seven of Monitor's 337 staff have a background in medicine and only 21 have had experience working in the health service.

These are tough times for the NHS. The number of NHS foundation trusts in difficulty is growing, and this casts doubt on Monitor's effectiveness as their regulator.

Over a quarter of foundation trusts, 39 out of 147, were predicted to be in deficit at the end of 2013-14, evidence of the increasing financial challenges they are facing.

These trusts are suffering from serious financial pressures, poor leadership or both, and some have been allowed to go on struggling for more than four years.

– PAC chairwoman Margaret Hodge

The MPs made a string of recommendations for the regulator.

They said that it must take faster action in trusts where problems have been identified. Some with difficulties in leadership or finances have been allowed to struggle on for "too long", they added.

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