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02.10.15

OUH becomes England’s 152nd foundation trust

Oxford University Hospitals was authorised yesterday (1 October) to become a foundation trust, effective immediately.

As well as awarding this, Monitor specifically asked the provider to keep cutting patient waiting times in A&E and for cancer care and improve its finances – despite recognising the “challenging operating environment facing the sector”.

The regulator will closely monitor the trust’s performance against its plans.

It can now give patients, staff and the public the chance to become members or governors with a formal say in how the provider is run. It also means the trust will be free from Whitehall control and can remotely decide on how to improve services, retain surpluses generated and borrow money to support investments.

Dame Fiona Caldicott, chair of the FT who was recently appointed National Data Guardian, said: “Being a foundation trust will enable us to continue to improve our services by increasing the involvement of patients, staff and the local communities that we serve through our membership.

“It means that our council of governors will now play an important role in holding the board of directors to account, appointing non-executive directors and contributing to the strategic direction of the trust.”

The authorisation follows “rigorous assessment” against national criteria of its ability to provide long-term quality care. It also based itself on the ‘good’ rating the trust received from a CQC inspection at year.

Sir Jonathan Michael, chief executive of the FT, said: “The work we have done to become a foundation trust has involved a journey of improvement that needed to happen anyway. Foundation trust status has been a stimulus to us to pursue this improvement but was not a destination in itself.

“Becoming a foundation trust is recognition of the work we have done to improve the quality and efficiency of our services for patients and the capability we have to continue these improvements.”

He also thanked the staff for their “continued commitment” to deliver “high quality healthcare”, but acknowledged that becoming a FT does not “solve the challenges facing us or the NHS nationwide”.

“We will continue to focus on sustaining delivering safe and high quality care, living within our means and meeting national standards in a very difficult financial climate.”

The trust operates four hospitals serving Oxfordshire and parts of Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire.

Monitor’s decision brings the FT trust list to 152, covering 60% of all trusts in England.

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