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Monitor authorises West Suffolk to become an NHS foundation trust

Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, has confirmed the following foundation trust will be authorised from 1 December 2011:

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
In authorising the trust, Monitor’s Board has flagged two issues that the trust will need to focus on: delivering a challenging cost savings programme while maintaining and improving the quality of care delivered; and the development and implementation of the trust’s future strategy.

The announcement means there are now 141 NHS foundation trusts in total, of which 41 are mental health trusts.

Having achieved NHS foundation trust status the trust will benefit from a variety of new freedoms:

NHS foundation trusts are free from central government control and are able to decide how to improve their services;
NHS foundation trusts retain any surpluses they generate to invest in new services, and can borrow money to support these investments; and
NHS foundation trusts are accountable to their local communities; local people can become members and governors.
These freedoms mean NHS foundation trusts can better shape their healthcare services around local needs and priorities and the requirements of their commissioners.

The Department of Health has made clear that the vast majority of remaining NHS trusts must aim to become a foundation trust, or form part of one, by April 2014.

Commenting on the authorisation, Stephen Hay, Monitor’s Chief Operating Officer said:

“When assessing NHS trusts for foundation trust status we have to be confident that the organisation is legally constituted, financially sustainable, effectively governed and locally representative. These are all essential requirements for foundation trusts to be able to operate with autonomy, deliver national health priorities and be responsive to local needs.

“Monitor supports the Department of Health’s programme to prepare applicants for assessment by Monitor as NHS foundation trusts. However, our priority is ensuring our assessment standards remain high and consistent throughout the drive to ensure all eligible trusts reach foundation trust status.”

Notes to editors

1. For media enquiries please contact Tom Charteris on 020 7340 2477 

2. In the next few days we will publish the letter we sent to the trust outlining the issues it needs to focus on; it will be available to download from the NHS foundation trust directory on our website:

3. Monitor authorises and regulates NHS foundation trusts ensuring they are well-managed and financially viable in order to deliver high quality healthcare for patients.

4. Monitor was established in January 2004. It is independent of government and accountable to Parliament. Monitor’s functions and powers are set out in the National Health Service Act 2006.

5. Monitor is now on Twitter - follow us @MonitorUpdate




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