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Health secretary John Reid today confirmed his support for 20 more ...
Health secretary John Reid today confirmed his support for 20 more

hospitals to become NHS foundation trusts.

He also confirmed that the next wave of NHS foundation trust

applications is to be expanded to include, for the first time, three

star rated mental health trusts.

The trusts that can apply immediately to the Office of the

Independent Regulator of NHS foundation trusts for authorisation are:

- Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust

- Barnsley District General Hospital NHS Trust

- Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust

- Birmingham Women's Healthcare NHS Trust

- Burton Hospitals NHS Trust

- Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospitals NHS Trust

- East Somerset NHS Trust

- Frimley Park Hospitals NHS Trust

- Gateshead Health NHS Trust

- Harrogate Healthcare NHS Trust

- Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

- Liverpool Women's Hospital NHS Trust

- Nottingham City Hospital NHS Trust

- Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases NHS Trust

- Southend Hospital NHS Trust

- South Tyneside Healthcare NHS Trust

- The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust

- The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Trust

- West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust

- Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust

Mr Reid has not given his support to the application from South Devon

Healthcare NHS Trust.

These trusts can now apply to the Independent Regulator of NHS

Foundation Trusts. The regulator has indicated that he will

authorise the next set of NHS foundation trusts in two batches -

likely to be 1 November 2004 and 1 February 2005.

Mr Reid said:

'I'm delighted to support these trusts in their bid to join the 20

NHS foundation trusts established to date by the independent


'They have successfully maintained their 3 star status throughout the

application process.

'This marks another important step on the road to decentralisation,

freeing up the NHS from day-to-day Whitehall control and giving local

patients more power.

'We're committed to ensuring that all trusts have NHS foundation

status by 2008.

'The department will continue to work with all those NHS trusts who

have deferred their applications or have not secured a three star

rating with a view to them obtaining approval to go forward at the

next earliest opportunity.

'We will also work with South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust with the aim

that they too secure foundation status as soon as possible.

'I'm also pleased to announce that three star rated mental health

trusts will be able to apply for NHS foundation status in the next


'This reinforces our commitment to improving mental health services

for patients.'


1. Currently only 3 star rated acute and specialist trusts are able

to apply for foundation status. Eligible mental health trusts will

be invited to submit preliminary applications in September 2004. In

December 2004, those trusts who submit successful applications will

be invited to prepare and submit a preparatory application for

approval by the secretary of state in September 2005. The secretary

of state's approval will be subject to the outcome of the Healthcare

Commission's review of NHS foundation trusts.

2. In June 2004, 34 NHS trusts submitted preparatory applications for

secretary of state support for submission of applications to the

independent regulator in Wave 1a. Applications included details of

the organisation's HR strategy, governance arrangements and service

development strategy. The applications were reviewed against

assessment criteria. Additionally the department has also taken into

account the views of independent financial assessors appointed by the

department and of the trust's strategic health authority.

3. Section 4 (1) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and

Standards) Act 2003 provides that an NHS trust may make an

application to the independent regulator for authorisation to become

an NHS foundation trust, if the application is supported by secretary

of state. Section 6 of the Act sets out the matters to be taken into

account by the regulator and the terms under which authorisation of

NHS foundation trust status can be given.

4. To date, 20 NHS foundation trusts have been authorised by the

Independent Regulator. The independent regulator will only approve an

application when it is satisfied about the applicant's viability -

and that the quality of the application meets the tests as set out

in the legislation. This is a separate process from the assessment

carried out by the Department of Health. Secretary of state support

for an application does not guarantee that it will be successful.

5. NHS foundation trusts remain fully part of the NHS, but have

greater management and financial freedoms to retain surpluses and to

invest in delivery of new services. NHS foundation trusts are not

subject to direction by secretary of state for health, but will be

overseen by the independent regulator.

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