Integrated care pioneer trust quits FT road

 A Devonshire NHS trust that pioneered the delivery of integrated health and social care has abandoned plans to seek independent foundation trust (FT) status.

Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care Trust (TSDHCT) is now seeking to merge with an existing or emerging FT.

The decision followed a report that the Trust was unlikely to meet Monitor’s economic criteria for FT status because many of its services are not profitable.

The trust stated that reducing the scope of its services in order to meet the criteria was not compatible with “maintaining and developing good integrated care”.

South Devon Healthcare FT is thought to be Torbay’s most likely partner.

A former PCT provider arm, TSDHCT has provided integrated health and social care for a population of 300,000 people since 2006.

TSDHCT Chief Executive Anthony Farnsworth said shortly before the decision that while the unprofitable aspects of the trust’s work could be managed within a PCT, they meant Torbay would not “pass the test of viability” to gain FT status.

He noted: “Although the pressing immediate question is one of financial viability, the more profound consideration is whether the best option is to make the organisation viable (but possibly smaller) in pursuit of the FT application at the possible expense of our local system of health and care services.”

Following the board’s decision to seek a partner, he added: “The approach agreed will provide us with the financial security enjoyed by a larger organisation, and a solid footing from which to deliver and develop integrated care for the future.”