Sixteen NHS trusts apply for foundation status

24-08-2006

Sixteen "high performing" hospitals and NHS trusts have applied for foundation trust status, the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt, today announced.

The 16 trusts include five mental health hospitals, Birmingham's Children's hospital, Milton Keynes General hospital and the South Manchester University hospitals.

Their requests to gain greater financial and managerial freedom will now be forwarded on to the independent regulator, Monitor, with preliminary decisions expected by the end of July.

Ms Hewitt said: "I'm delighted that sixteen more trusts are applying for foundation status. In the coming weeks we will be considering the merits of all these applications and deciding which ones to recommend to the independent regulator for approval."

There are already 40 established foundation trusts in the UK, with a further 13 applications already under consideration, and the health secretary explained she was happy that more hospitals were opening their eyes to the benefits that foundation status brings.

"Foundation trusts enjoy greater freedom from day-to-day central controls and the benefits this brings, such as the ability to innovate new ways of delivering services for patients," she said.

Ms Hewitt added that she was especially happy that five mental health hospitals had applied, as the overall goal is for "all acute and mental health trusts to become foundation trusts".

Foundation hospitals in the UK employ almost 150,000 NHS staff and have a combined turnover of £8.2 billion.

Last week the deficit in the health service in England was revealed to be £512 million, double 2005's value, with about 12,000 jobs lost as a result. Ms Hewitt claimed at the time that the NHS was in the process of "stabilising".


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