What is a Foundation Trust?
Foundation Trusts are still part of the NHS, but unlike ordinary NHS trusts, they have thousands of Members and a Council of Governors who represent the Members and work with the Board of Directors. NHS Foundation Trusts are subject to NHS standards, inspection regimes as well as performance ratings.
Foundation Trusts are organisations that are run as independent public benefit corporations similar to mutual organisations such as the Co-op or building societies. The key difference is that NHS Foundation Trusts are run locally.
By being a NHS Foundation Trust it means control is transferred away from the government to the local community. Staff, patients, service users, carers, partner organisations and the public all have the opportunity to become members, and thereby the owners, of the Trust. This brings lots of benefits:
- Local Ownership – the public, by becoming Members, do have a much greater say in how services are run.
- Local Involvement – Members and Governors have a much greater say in shaping the direction and management of the Trust and ensure that people have the same access to the same high quality services whatever their background or circumstances.
- Local Employment – NHS Foundation Trust status helps the Trust to attract, train and retain high quality staff.
- Local Partnerships – the Foundation Trust Board includes nominated Governors from stakeholder organisations, which will help create stronger, more responsive partnership working.
- Local Financial Controls – NHS Foundation Trusts are subject to less financial controls from the Government. A Foundation Trust can carry forward any surpluses at the end of each year, putting the extra money back into local services and investing in future service development.