Magazine article Public Finance

Health Check List for Hospital Trusts

Magazine article Public Finance

Health Check List for Hospital Trusts

Article excerpt

A new hospital assessment tool, launched by the Department of Health this week, will be the catalyst for 'radical change' and possible service cuts, Public Finance has been told.

The performance check list sets out the areas used by the foundation trust watchdog Monitor to assess whether a hospital trust can be granted foundation status.

Foundation trusts form the cornerstone of the governments plan for the new health care market, in which consumer choice determines which services and providers flourish.

The check list was launched as Health secretary Patricia Hewitt announced that trusts awarded two stars in annual performance ratings would now be allowed to apply for foundation status.

The tool examines a hospital's financial viability in its local health care market by assessing factors such as the strength of competition, the existence of private sector treatment centres, patient demand, debt and its ability to perform services within the fixed NHS tariff.

Mike Gill, assessment director for Monitor, told PF that where the check list revealed that capacity in a local economy outweighed demand, Monitor would either make recommendations to the strategic health authority that it commission less services from, for example, private treatment centres, or it would advise the hospital to cut its uncompetitive services. …

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