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Basildon and Thurrock University NHS Foundation Trust

Volume 506: debated on Friday 5 March 2010

Following my statements to the House on 30 November 2009, Official Report, c. 855-870 and 7 January 2010, Official Report, c. 13WS, I wish further to update the House on the situation at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Chris Mellor, acting chair of Monitor, the regulatory body for NHS foundation trusts, has written to me about the progress being made at the trust. His letter dated 19 February 2010 has been copied to all local MPs and has also been placed in the Library.

Monitor has advised that further progress has been made at the trust since December 2009. With the support of the taskforce, the trust board has put in place a series of key performance indicators (KPIs) aimed at focusing attention on the areas of greatest clinical concern.

The trust has responded to specific concerns around hospitalised standardised mortality rations (HSMR), hygiene and children’s services and learning disability services and each of these areas are actively being monitored. The taskforce has reported that progress has been made, especially against HSMR and hygiene. However, concerns remain around the pace and sustainability of progress when the taskforce exits, governance at board level, and board leadership.

Monitor has advised me of one further quality issue since my last statement, which was an outbreak of Legionella affecting two patients at the trust. Legionella is an ongoing risk at the trust and they have significant monitoring and controls in place as a result.

Monitor has advised that while it is somewhat encouraged by the quality improvements that have been made, it is not yet in receipt of all the information required to make a full assessment of the extent and pace of progress. This will be clearer in the next month when Monitor expect to receive the Dr. Foster data on HSMR for December 2009 (these data are subject to a three-month lag time), the outcome of the CQC registration process, further progress against the agreed KPIs and the independent report assessing governance arrangements at the trust.

I will receive regular updates once Monitor’s board has reviewed the trust’s progress and will continue to provide these updates to the House.