Administrators take over at Mid Staffs NHS trust

NHS logo Mid Staffs foundation trust is to be taken over by independent administrators after being forced to go bankrupt, it has emerged.

Thousands of patients in need of urgent treatment could be forced to switch hospitals as a result. Here, we explain what is happening and why.

Why has the trust gone bankrupt?
Mid Staffs foundation trust is not the first NHS trust to hit financial problems.

Last year, South London Healthcare NHS trust became the first to be put into administration after it began losing about £1.3 million a week.

However, the bankruptcy of Mid Staffs is concerning as foundation trusts are supposed to be beacons of financial excellence in the NHS, which is now firmly in the privatisation firing line.

Mid Staffs' problems started five years ago when the trust hit the headlines due to evidence of patients being neglected.

An inquiry by Robert Francis QC into hundreds of "excess" deaths at the hospital between 2005 and 2009 concluded in February this year that there had been failures at every level of the service it provided.

And despite levels of care being improved, the trust's finances have gone downhill since then, with the Department of Health providing £20 million to prop up the trust's finances last year and a similar amount needed again this year.

According to The Independent, the fact that further subsidies totalling £73 million over the next five years would be needed resulted in NHS foundation trust regulator Monitor concluding that Mid Staffs foundation trust was "clinically and financially unsustainable".

What will happen now?
Monitor has appointed two special administrators – the clinician Hugo Mascie-Taylor (who headed up the contingency planning team sent in by the regulator to assess the trust's plight last year) and Alan Bloom of accountant Ernst and Young.

Their job is to "safeguard the future of health services" at the trust by producing a plan to "reorganise" services in 45 days.

Proposed options include shrinking the trust's hospitals at Stafford and Cannock, resulting in some 40,000 patients needing specialised and serious care potentially facing trips to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, the Royal Wolverhampton hospitals and Walsall Healthcare NHS trust.

David Bennett, chief executive of Monitor, told the Guardian: "We have taken this decision to make sure that patients in the Mid Staffordshire area have the services they need in the future.

"It is now the role of the trust special administrators to work with the local community to decide the best way of delivering these services. There will be a full public consultation on any proposals for change."

The five worst financial crises of our time

The five worst financial crises of our time