Press Release - Foundation Hospitals

MP Calls On Brum Hospital to Bin ‘Foundation’ Plans

19 November 2003

Lynne Jones has called on the University Hospital Birmingham not to go ahead with application for ‘foundation’ status.

In response to the consultation by the University Hospital Trust on their bid for foundation status, the MP has criticised the very worth of the consultation.  Lynne Jones said “In their ‘consultation’ they say foundation status will enable them to involve and serve local people better because decisions will be made locally rather than in Whitehall.  Yet they are not putting the principle of becoming a foundation trust to local people. That is a fait accompli that calls into question the Trust’s commitment to real accountability”.

The MP points out that the Chair of the Trust, is reported in the Health Services Journal as saying: “I am in favour of foundation trusts… essentially to get certain people off our backs. Yes, let's have autonomy, let’s have accountability, but for goodness sake don't expect us to have a 5,000 strong membership. That would be an absolute nightmare.....We have a huge private finance scheme and I want him (referring to the Chief Executive) concentrating on that. I don't want him spending all his time out recruiting members of the local co-op.”

South Birmingham Community Health Council state their concern that the cost of servicing the membership of a Foundation Trust will take resources away from patient care - the CHC have already received a letter from the Trust revealing that the application and consultation costs have amounted to 175,000.  They also argue that improvements “could be more easily achieved by the Secretary of State reducing the number of centrally prescribed targets” and “it is hard to see how this freedom for Foundation Trusts can be exercised other than at the expense of other local NHS employers”.

The latest NOP Poll finds that the public want money going to all hospitals not just foundation trusts.  The poll revealed that 84 per cent of people wanted public money aimed at improving all NHS hospitals.  Commenting on this, Lynne Jones said “People are more concerned about NHS capacity than about structures, they don’t want to see a postcode lottery, but a genuinely national service.  We do not want an NHS in competition with itself.  There is no sense in re-createing the failed Tory internal market.  What we need is an end to repeated reorganisations, a clear path of accountability and the maintenance of a collaborative structure with equal status for all.”

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For the full text of Lynne Jones’ response to the University Hospital Trust consultation click on the link below.

http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/fhosps4.htm

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