About Foundation Trusts
- Accountability: Foundation Trusts are more accountable to the communities they serve through the Governors’ Council and Foundation Trust Members.
- Elected Representation: Members of the Foundation Trust elect both public and staff representatives from the membership to serve on a Governors’ Council.
- Consultation: The Governors’ Council is consulted by the Board of Directors (which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the hospital) to decide on the way in which hospital services are developed.
- Law: NHS Foundation Trusts have been established by law under the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 as legally independent organisations known as Public Benefit Corporations. Foundation Trust authorisation is not a move towards privatisation.
- Assets: Foundation Trusts are required to use their assets, such as land and buildings, in support of their main purpose, which is to provide NHS services to NHS patients.
- Regulation: A Foundation Trust is regulated by an organisation called Monitor, which is the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.
So although we remain a part of the NHS, as a Foundation Trust we have more freedom to develop the type of health services needed for our particular patients and community.
As a Foundation Trust, we have the financial freedom to raise money from both the public and private sectors – provided we can afford the repayments – to invest in new buildings and equipment. We’ll also be able to keep any financial ‘surpluses’ we make for reinvestment in the delivery of NHS services.
Although we will continue to work closely with NHS ‘partner’ organisations in our area we’ll also be able to develop new business links with other healthcare providers where they can help us to develop new and better services.
A Foundation Trust operates under ‘terms of authorisation’. These include such things as
- a description of the services we’re authorised to provide,
- a list of our assets,
- a clear indication of the limit on the amount of money we’re allowed to borrow,
- a limit on the amount of private work we can carry out,
- a requirement for us to work to national NHS healthcare standards overseen by the Care Quality Commission
- our Constitution, which sets out the framework for how we will operate as a Foundation Trust.
If we breach these ‘terms of authorisation’, Monitor (the independent regulator) has the power to intervene.
The Compliance Framework sets out how the Trust will report its plans and performance to Monitor.