East Kent Hospitals University NHS Trust was given NHS Foundation Trust status on 1 March 2009. But what does this mean?
What is an NHS Foundation Trust?
NHS Foundation Trusts have been created to devolve decision-making from central Government to local organisations and communities so they are more responsive to the needs of local people.
Local people, patients and staff can have a real say in the Trust's decisions by becoming and acting as members of the Foundation Trust. A Council of Governors, which is representative of the local population and elected by the members, holds the Trust Board to account.
Although run locally, NHS Foundation Trusts remain fully part of the NHS. They have been set up in law as legally independent organisations called Public Benefit Corporations, with a primary purpose to provide NHS services to NHS patients and users according to NHS principles and standards. The public still receive free healthcare based on need.
NHS Trusts have more financial freedom and can raise funds from both the public and private sectors to invest in services.
An independent organisation called Monitor, which is directly accountable to Parliament, assesses a Trust's ability to run as a Foundation Trust, and, once NHS Foundation Trust status is granted, oversees the Trust to ensure it is acting properly as an NHS Foundation Trust.
Foundation Trust Authorisation documents