Health officials say that those who have demonstrated ‘that they face serious structural financial issues’, often arising from PFI arrangements, could receive extra help.
To meet the criteria for such support, a shortlist of affected Trusts would need to demonstrate that they had met four key tests set by the Government:
• The problems they face should be exceptional and beyond those faced by other organisations;
• They must be able to show that the problems they face are historic and that they have a clear plan to manage their resources in the future;
• They must show that they are delivering high levels of annual productivity savings;
• They must deliver clinically viable, high-quality services, including delivering low waiting times and other performance measures.
Any Trusts that can satisfy the rigorous tests will have access to financial support of up to £1.5bn in total over a period of 25 years.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The NHS is delivering great results for patients but we know that a small number of NHS Trusts with PFI arrangements have historic problems relating to these arrangements that make it very difficult for them to manage financially.
“We need to balance the accountability of the NHS at local level to live within its means on one hand, with recognising that there is a legacy of debt for some Trusts with PFI schemes. And we need to be certain that those NHS Trusts that face historic financial problems are not taking their eye off the most important issue of all – maintaining and improving their frontline patient care.”