Kent

Medway NHS Trust criticised over finances by watchdog

A health watchdog has said it has concerns about a hospital trust's finances and its plans to "return to a stable financial footing".

The independent regulator Monitor said Medway NHS Trust was in "significant breach" of the terms relating to its foundation trust status.

It said it would consider a formal intervention unless the trust's board took action and made progress.

The trust said it was "naturally disappointed" with the announcement.

Monitor, which regulates foundation trusts, said it had concerns about board level scrutiny, financial planning and performance.

Dr David Bennett, who chairs Monitor, said: "We've taken this decision due to concerns about the level of board challenge on financial issues and about the trust's plans to return to a stable financial footing.

'Precautionary measure'

"If evidence suggests the trust is not addressing issues effectively, we will consider whether further regulatory action is appropriate."

In a statement, the trust said it was "naturally disappointed" but understood why Monitor was taking a "precautionary measure".

It said it had achieved 90% of its target to save £15m in 2010-11 but had failed to meet its financial plans.

"The board has ensured that financial plans for the current financial year are more robust," the statement said.

"In all other respects the hospital performed well last year, meeting all patient access targets and achieving the best infection control performance in the South East region."

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