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NHS chief accused of “interfering”

Reports suggest that the chief executive of the NHS has been told not to interfere with the management of foundation hospitals.

According to the Guardian, Dr William Moyes, chairman of the foundation trust regulator Monitor, has written to NHS boss David Nicholson telling him to stop interfering with operational decisions.

The newspaper claims that Dr Moyes then gave more than 100 chairmen and chief executives a copy of the letter he sent to Mr Nicholson on 31 January reminding him of parliamentary guidelines on the independence of foundation hospitals.

Dr Moyes accused Mr Nicholson of overstepping the mark when he instructed foundation hospitals to deep-clean wards and give more powers to matrons following an infection scandal at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals NHS Trust in Kent.

The newspaper reports Dr Moyes did not believe Mr Nicholson’s instructions were “consistent with the legislative framework”.

Outbreaks of Clostridium difficile (C difficile) at Kent and Sussex Hospital, Pembury Hospital and Maidstone Hospital claimed the lives of at least 21 patients between 2004 and 2006, according to a report by the Healthcare Commission released last year.

Dr Moyes told the newspaper that it was essential that the Government’s healthcare reforms worked in a way that “allows foundation trusts to act autonomously, but in co-operation with the rest of the NHS”.

Mr Nicholson said he supported the autonomy of foundation trusts but that every NHS board had a duty to learn the lessons of the C difficile outbreak.

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