Press release

Monitor agrees deal to protect essential services at challenged rural hospitals

Monitor has agreed to increase the amount of money paid for six essential services at University Hospital Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The health sector regulator has for the first time used its statutory powers to change the national prices paid to a trust by local commissioners, in order to protect services on behalf of patients.

The decision reflects the increased costs associated with this trust running health services across multiple sites in rural locations.

The regulator’s decision follows a successful application by the trust for a local modification to the National Tariff, which sets out what trusts are paid for the services they provide.

The exact value of the subsidy will depend on the number of patients using the services covered by the changes. It is estimated the trust could receive between £20-25 million, reducing the likelihood it will need further funding from the Department of Health. The services affected are:

  • Accident and Emergency
  • General surgery
  • Trauma and orthopaedics
  • Paediatrics
  • Women’s health and
  • Non-elective medical specialities

Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive at Monitor, said:

It is the first time we have used our powers in this way and the new deal will help the trust continue to provide a range of essential services for patients including A&E and surgery.

There are finite funds available for the NHS and this adjustment will help to share the burden more fairly across the local health economy. However, commissioners and providers need to do more to solve all the financial challenges in the local area.