16/01/2004

First wave of Foundation Trust hospitals announced

Health Secretary John Reid today confirmed that he will support 24 NHS Trusts in their bids to become the first wave of NHS Foundation Trusts.

The Trusts can now apply to the office of the Independent Regulator, chaired by Bill Moyes, for authorisation as NHS Foundation Trusts, and set up their new governance arrangements including recruiting members and holding elections to their Boards of Governors.

A complete list of the trusts involved can be found at the Department of Health website: www.doh.gov.uk

The department of health has said that the NHS Foundation Trusts will remain fully a part of the NHS, but will have greater management and financial freedoms including freedoms to retain surpluses and to invest in delivery of new services. NHS Foundation Trusts will not be subject to direction by the Secretary of State for Health, but will instead be overseen by the Independent Regulator.

Dr Reid said: "Over the next year, this reform will give local people more control over their local hospital. It will enable these excellent NHS hospitals to respond more quickly to the needs of their NHS patients. NHS Foundations Trusts will continue to be fully part of the NHS and treat patients free at the point of need.

"This is a significant step in that reform and I am very happy to be able to support these NHS Trusts in their bid to become the first ever NHS Foundation Trusts."

The Independent Regulator will only approve an application when it is satisfied about the applicant's preparedness and viability. This is a separate process from the initial assessment carried out by the Department of Health and Secretary of State of support for an application does not guarantee that it will be successful.

(gmcg)

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