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Strengthened role for Monitor in the oversight of Foundation Trusts

14 September 2011

In its report of the first annual accountability hearing with Monitor, the Health Committee has welcomed the strengthened role given to the hospital regulator in the approval and regulation of Foundation Trusts.

Setting out its conclusions, the committee:

  • Strongly supports the view that the standards for authorizing Foundation Trusts must not fall as a result of the Government’s desire to see all remaining NHS Trusts become Foundation Trusts
  • Welcomes the extension of Monitor’s oversight powers for Foundation Trusts to 2016, and the fact that the powers will then be reviewed
  • Welcomes the fact that Monitor’s new role, as set out in the Health and Social Care Bill, has been more clearly defined, following the Future Forum process

Commenting on the Committee’s findings, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the Committee said:

"Monitor has established a reputation as an effective regulator of Foundation Trusts. We believe it is important to safeguard that hard-won reputation. 

That means insisting on the maintenance of a rigorous approvals system.

It also means maintaining an effective oversight regime in what are likely to be increasingly challenging times. 

Finally, following government amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill which were tabled at Commons Report Stage, it means the operation of an effective distress and failure regime for Foundation Trusts."

Looking forward, the Committee observes that the enhanced role for Monitor envisaged by the Health and Social Care Bill involves substantial change for the organization. It concludes:

"It is vital that the transition period is carefully managed, with each of Monitor’s responsibilities, both old and new, being executed to a high standard. We are confident that Monitor is aware of the scale of this challenge, and we note that Monitor has begun to plan for the transition to its new role, as far as this is possible. When we review this topic next year we will evaluate how well Monitor has undertaken this transition."

Further information