The following questions were asked by members of the public present at the meeting:-
“The Daily Telegraph had run a story last month about a number of NHS Trusts that had been paying £570,000 a year to agencies. I was disappointed that 1 of them was Rotherham Hospital. Since February, the Rotherham Foundation Trust had paid at least £40,000 a month for Michael Morgan at an annual rate of up to £570,000 for the services of his company. It said that the sum would pay the salary of 26 nurses and is more than twice the top salary paid to any permanent NHS executive. What have the tax payers of Rotherham got for their money? How is it justified paying more than other Trusts?”
Michael Morgan, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Rotherham Foundation Trust, stated that the Trust’s website contained all the contractual information concerning both partners. He was not paid directly by the Trust; he was paid by Bolt Partners so the information from the standpoint of him personally was not correct. His job was to work himself out of a job as quickly as possible and would be leaving on 18th November when the new Interim Chief Executive would be taking up the post. Michael had been fulfilling the role of Interim Chief Executive as well as Chief Restructuring Officer. There had also been 4 other individuals as part of that contract that had been in the organisation since February, 2013.
Michael would provide full details or the website had the actual contract between the Trust and Bolt Partners.
The information contained in the newspaper article was not the salary for the Interim Chief Executive but was the amount of money paid to the whole turnaround team that had been brought to Rotherham Hospital. When Bolt Partners had joined the Trust in February, 2013, the Trust had been losing money in recent years.
The Trust had lost £6M in 2012/13, £6M in 2011/12 and £3.5M in 2010/11. It was now £0.5M ahead of the Plan and was projected to break even at the end of March, 2014.
“It had been reported in the local press that the Hospital was considering options as part of the action plan to Monitor. 1 option was the merger or acquisition of other Health Trusts. How developed are the plans and what discussions has the Trust had with other Trusts?”
Monitor had asked the Trust to look at all options for Rotherham Foundation Trust. There were 3 basic options that the Trust was looking at and that was part of the work the turnaround team had been tasked with by the Trust and Monitor:-
Option 1 to continue the Trust as it was in its current structure under the current type of management
Option 2 Increased vertically integrated type of organisation
Currently there are acute and community services that were partially vertically integrated. A fully vertically integrated organisation would see patients taken care of in the community and the acute care trust, plus possibly closer work with social care, to move all the way through the continuum of care in a much more cohesive manner than at present.
Option 3 Affiliation type situation.
The 6 regional Trusts would be looking at what the best ways of working together were, not just for Rotherham but also for the other 5. Bearing in mind the large scale reduction in funding consideration would be given as to how that could be managed in a way that was safe for patients. Examples of current collaborative working are Rotherham cardiology patients going to Sheffield, patients from Barnsley coming to TRFT for opthamology and from Doncaster for ENT services.
The Hospital could not be closed as it would have a knock on effect on other hospitals and it a case of delivering the best care pathway for patients and keeping the Trust established as an excellent part of the community.
“When would the public be consulted on any merger/acquisition?”
The 3 options were to be considered by the Trust Board on 18th December. It was the Board who was the decision maker not Bolt Partners and the Governors would also have to approve the decision. Once the option was decided, consultation would take place.