14/11/2003

Government urged to abandon foundation hospitals

The BMA has appealed to the government today to drop the clauses on NHS foundation hospitals from the Health and Social Care Bill which is currently making its way through parliament.

In a letter to John Reid, the Secretary of State for Health, the Chairman of the BMA, James Johnson, said that the organisation was "strongly opposed to the creation of NHS foundation trusts".

The letter added: "I am in little doubt that their establishment will prove divisive, exacerbate inequalities in the NHS and encourage competition when there is an overwhelming need for cooperation and collaboration. Foundation trusts pose a real threat to the principles of equity and fairness on which, for good reason, the NHS has always been based.

"In addition, giving more power and a greater democratic element to providers in principle appears to conflict with the aim of shifting power to commissioners and making primary care one of the government's priorities."

Mr Johnson added: "The principle of the health service being accountable to the local population is admirable, but the proposed governance arrangements have not been thought through. Foundation trusts will not even be required to set up the new patient forums."

When the BMA debated this government policy at its annual conference this year, a motion to oppose the creation of NHS foundation trusts was carried overwhelmingly.

The Association is also writing to MPs, in advance of next Wednesday's vote, to alert them to the BMA's position on Part 1 of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill.

(gmcg)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 January 2005
Five further health trusts make foundation grade
Following approval by the independent regulatory body, five Trusts have been granted Foundation Trust status.
08 October 2003
First wave of hospitals apply for foundation trust status
The government has revealed that 32 three-star NHS Trusts have completed the first stage of the application process to become NHS Foundation Trusts.
12 October 2006
'Health Check' finds some trusts in poor state
The results of the Healthcare Commission's first annual health check show that many NHS trusts are performing well, but there was room for improvement in more than half the trusts which were told to "raise their game".
24 May 2005
Trials for prostate cancer drugs announced
Scientists have announced that they are testing new drugs that could be used to treat advanced prostate cancer. Currently, advanced prostate cancer is treated with hormone therapy. However, this only works for a short period of time, after which there are few other options for the patient, apart from palliative care.
03 July 2003
Foundation hospitals granted public sector status
The Office for National Statistics today announced that, consistent with international guidelines for National Accounts, NHS Foundation Trusts will provisionally be classified in the public sector as central government bodies.