A nurse is to be appointed to the board of the body designed to boost standards at England’s most troubled trusts.
The NHS Trust Development Authority will work with non-foundation trusts to make sure they can hit financial and performance standards.
It will also be responsible for ensuring trusts stick to their plans for becoming foundation trusts without compromising patient care.
The public inquiry into care failures at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust heard evidence last year that standards may have been compromised as a result of the trust cutting costs to hit the financial targets needed to qualify as a foundation trust, specifically by reducing nursing posts. In evidence former trust director of nursing Helen Moss admitted a report highlighting chronic understaffing was withheld from the trust board until after foundation trust status was achieved.
The authority will become fully operational in April 2013 but will start work in June this year.
A DH document on its development said: “The NTDA will work to ensure the cost improvement programmes and long-term financial plans are agreed with nursing and medical directors, involve patients in their design and include in-built assurances of patient safety and quality.”
The authority will become fully operational in April 2013 but will start work in June this year. The new body will be led by current NHS deputy chief executive David Flory.
The DH has said it still had a “strong expectation” that “the majority” of NHS trusts will achieve foundation status by April 2014, but several are now predicting they will fail to achieve this. There are currently 112 NHS trusts in the foundation trust pipeline.