The trust has welcomed feedback about its application to become a foundation trust from Monitor – the health sector regulator.

St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust is regarded as “well-led” by Monitor and also had an overall rating of ‘good’ from the Care Quality Commission following a rigorous inspection in 2014.

However, the operating environment for NHS trusts is increasingly challenging. Monitor has deferred authorisation of St George’s as a foundation trust for up to three months to enable the trust’s management team to put additional financial measures in place to protect services in the event of a downturn in NHS finances.

As well as gearing up for a new way of operating, the trust must show that it is on track to deliver a surplus, as planned, at the end of the financial year. The trust has performed well over recent years, turning round its financial position and paying off a significant historic debt. However, this has left little for contingencies and so the delay will give the trust an opportunity to prove that it can deal with and sustain any downturn.

Miles Scott, the chief executive, said: “Achieving foundation status is harder now than ever; the bar has been raised, and for the right reasons. We accept the high standards Monitor expects of us in terms of service provision, governance and financial management. A short delay now will enable us to strengthen our balance sheet so that we can deal with any ups and downs in NHS finances without impacting our clinical services or our plans for major investment.”

The trust’s chairman Christopher Smallwood added: “We are very pleased to have got so far and to be so close to our goal. I regard our application as a benefit to us – we have learned much from inspections and have greatly enjoyed the growing relationship with our communities that come from creating a membership organisation.”



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