NHS trusts accused of underperforming have refuted suggestions that private firms could take over their management.
The Government has set out plans for how struggling trusts, which are falling short of minimum standards on quality, safety or finances, could face a series of interventions to force them to improve.
The Department of Health did not publish a list of the trusts but said it was likely to closely mirror last autumn’s assessment by the Healthcare Commission, which labelled 20 trusts weak in both quality of services and use of resources.
A spokesman said there was no separate list. But some trusts named in autumn by the Healthcare Commission hit back yesterday, saying they had already improved.
A spokeswoman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust - the only Midland trust among the 20 - said: “Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will not be involved in any private sector intervention. It is not a failing trust.”
Commenting on the trust’s performance, she said: “Although the Healthcare Commission rating for use of resources (finance) was poor in 2006/07, this was solely a consequence of our overspends from years gone by.”
The trust expects its financial rating for 2007/08 to be fair, she said.
Likewise it expects its rating for quality of services to improve from weak for 2006/07 to fair for 2007/08.
A spokesman for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust similarly denied it would be involved in the proposed plans and said it had already had a recent change of management.
A spokesman for Cumbria Primary Care Trust said it was not in danger of a private company takeover because its “weak” score was out of date. He said: “The new organisation has turned it around. We are predicted to get a score from the Healthcare Commission of fair for finances and service provision in autumn, when they release their summation of last year.
“The score of weak is well over a year out of date. We have moved on from that.”
The trusts that scored as weak in the Healthcare Commission’s assessment for both quality of services and use of resources were:
Great Western Ambulance Service NHS; Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS; Northern Devon Healthcare NHS; Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS; Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS; Royal United Hospital Bath NHS; Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS; Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS; West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS; Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS; Cumbria Primary Care; Devon Primary Care; East And North Hertfordshire Primary Care; Leicestershire County And Rutland Primary Care; Luton Teaching Primary Care; Mid Essex Primary Care; Sheffield Primary Care; Surrey Primary Care; West Hertfordshire Primary Care; Wiltshire Primary Care.