Buddy trusts receive £1.5 million to cover costs

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Bonus payments act as an incentive

Successful hospitals who have been ‘buddied’ with failing trusts put in special measures, are said to receive £1.5 million to cover their costs.

Senior hospital figures have said the regime is better value for money than management consultants, with some NHS trusts set to double their money after helping hospitals get out of special measures. Nine of 11 acute hospitals placed in special measures after last year’s Keogh review of high mortality rate hospitals were buddied with more successful organisations in a bid to help them improve.

Monitor reveals that £742,000 was paid out in ‘special measure reimbursements’ to cover the costs of the four foundation trust buddies, working out at £185,000 per buddying arrangement. The NHS Trust Development record an annual £871,000 being spent on special measures during 2013/14, with some of this funding being spent on support for special measure trusts. This means payments to buddy trusts could be closer to £150,000.

Additional income

A spokesman for Monitor explained that the bonus payments are made when foundation trusts have “exited special measures at the first opportunity.” The payments are also said to compare favourably to the typical fee charged by a consultancy firm, which would be the normal port of call for a struggling organisation. One senior hospital source told the HSJ “It’s probably about 10% of what the big four consultancy firms would have cost and it keeps the funds in the NHS.”

Sir David Dalton, chief executive of Salford Royal Foundation Trust, which has buddied with Buckingham Healthcare Trust and East Lancashire Hospital Trust, said “Having a track record of comparative success means we are more likely than a management consultancy to understand what needs to be done.”