A bid by the Royal to become a self-governing foundation trust has been put on hold by the hospital’s regulator, Monitor.

The watchdog organisation announced it had deferred for 12 months the application for foundation trust status from the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The Royal and its sister hospital at Broadgreen provide specialist and acute services to more than 465,000 people across Liverpool.

In a statement, Monitor said: “Following a rigorous assessment, Monitor concluded that the trust has shown improvements in the way it manages the quality of its care, but its current financial planning needs further work.

“The trust has taken steps to strengthen its board, which needs to further develop robust plans to provide good value for money services for patients in the long term.”

Work is currently well advanced on re-building the Royal Liverpool on its current site in Prescot Street, as part of a multi-million-pound health and bio-tech campus.

Miranda Carter, executive director of Provider Appraisal at Monitor, said: “We are deferring our decision on whether Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen should become a foundation trust for a year.

“In light of the new hospital it is building we want to give the trust more time to improve its financial plans. The next year will also give the trust time to induct new board members and to develop its plans to participate in Healthy Liverpool to improve care across Liverpool.” 

The new-look Royal Liverpool University HospitalThe new-look Royal Liverpool University Hospital

There are currently 151 NHS foundation trusts in England - over 60 percent of all trusts in the NHS. Foundation trust status is designed to give patients a greater say in their care, and foundation trusts have more freedom to shape services to match the needs of local people.

NHS foundation trusts are free from central government control and able to decide how to improve their services. They are also able to retain any surpluses they generate to invest in new services, and borrow money to support these investments. Foundation trusts are also accountable to their local communities, with local people as members and governors.

The blow to the Royal comes as Alder Hey prepares to move into its new hospital, Alder Hey in the Park, during a five day logistics operation from October 2 to October 6.