20. June 2012 13:04
The Foundation Trust Network has asked Monitor to ensure that its ‘continuity of service’ rules do not prevent FTs from temporarily closing down services.
Sue Slipman (pictured), FTN Chief Executive, said “risk-averse” restrictions would lead to “a real risk of regulatory driven failure”.
The FTN has lobbied Monitor as the regulator undertakes a review of potential barriers to a ‘level playing field’ for competing providers of NHS services.
The Health and Social Care Act requires Monitor to develop a ‘continuity of service’ system that ensures acute care services identified by CCGs as essential will not be withdrawn on cost grounds by FTs.
According to draft licence conditions published in December, providers could not “materially alter” a “commissioner requested service” without agreement by CCGs or the CQC.
However, the FTN called on Monitor to let providers “use temporary closures to address financial or quality problems without hindrance”.
Slipman commented: “New proposals mean that there is a real risk of regulatory driven failure. A risk-averse system could severely limit innovation and opportunities for partnerships. Carried to extreme, this would threaten provider sustainability.”
The FTN also objected to Monitor’s proposal to ban overseas investment by FTs, saying that undermined the Government’s stated aim of promoting the NHS abroad.
Monitor’s comprehensive review of “barriers to a fair playing field” for providers of NHS services, including reimbursement and commissioning behaviours, was requested by the Health Secretary and will report in early 2013.