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Foundation trust model called into question

Foundation trust model called into question

The foundation trust (FT) model set up to give hospitals greater authority was called into question at a King’s Fund event.
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The foundation trust (FT) model set up to give hospitals greater authority was called into question at a King’s Fund event.

With an expected provider deficit of £800 million due to be reported by regulators Monitor and The Trust Development Authority (TDA) the sustainability was questioned.

Bill Morgan, founding partner of Incisive Health and former special adviser to UK Department of Health, warned about an “unprecedented degree of centralisation” in the light of the financial constraints facing the NHS. He said: “The foundation trust model might be vulnerable as central controls in agency staffing spend could push the model to its legal limits. Replacing the model seems attractive as it helps the Department of Health manage finances but the price is local freedom.”

Nick Timmins, senior fellow at The King’s Fund, said that the model needed to be questioned when “you reach a stage where foundation trusts are in trouble and performing as terribly as those who never made it over the fence [to become FTs]”.

Saffron Cordery, director of policy and strategy at NHS providers, formerly the Foundation Trust Network, called for flex in current targets set for trusts although she wouldn’t be specific on which targets. “Targets for some areas need to be flexed. We need to look at what targets can deliver clinically safe care while not compromising on patient experience once they are in that process. It’s important to realise the situation can’t go on as is,” said Cordery.

Also at the event, What the election result means for health and social care, Sarah Wollaston, MP for Totnes and former health select comity chair, raised questions over the deliverability of the government’s aims on eight till eight access and a seven-day NHS. She said that convenience should not be prioritised over issues around patient mortality.

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