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RCN welcomes new failure regime for foundation trusts

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Government plans to impose a safeguard which could potentially save key services if foundation trusts collapse have been hailed as a step forward by the Royal College of Nursing.

Ministers set out amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill setting out what will happen to “financially unsustainable” trusts, under which trusts could as a last resort be put into “administration” by the regulator Monitor.

Commissioners would identify which services could not be stopped without a “significant adverse impact” on the local community’s health, or without impacting on health inequalities.

The administrator would report to Monitor on how to secure those essential services. There would also be consultation with staff and patients, while the Care Quality Commission would assess the provider’s services, to identify concerns over quality and patient safety.

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Peter Carter said the plans showed the government has listened to the college’s call for more detail on what to do when a trust hits difficulties.

“When the structure of the health service is facing radical changes, it is more important than ever that failure in care and financial stability can be swiftly and properly dealt with,” he said.

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