Foundation bid for two hospitals

Two of the region's main hospitals have been given the green light to achieve coveted foundation status. Health secretary Alan Johnson has now given the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds the go-ahead to move forward to the next stage of the process.

Two of the region's main hospitals have been given the green light to achieve coveted foundation status.

Health secretary Alan Johnson has now given the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the West Suffolk Hospital at Bury St Edmunds the go-ahead to move forward to the next stage of the process.

This means the trusts will be assessed over the next few months by Monitor, the independent regulator for NHS Foundation Trusts.

The N&N is now drawing up a timetable to run elections for a council of governors, a body which will help run the new foundation trust. This is expected to take place some time between January and March. The N&N had initially hoped to hear in October that it had been accepted for the next stage, but the decision was delayed while further financial analysis was carried out on the PFI hospital, which has traditionally balanced its books.


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The West Suffolk Hospital had its initial application turned down in March 2005 because of its financial situation. It has made a significant reduction in costs of some £20m over the last three years, although it has still to pay back a £12m deficit.

Last night, trust bosses were celebrating the breakthrough decision, which will lead to them taking greater control of their own affairs and although it will still have to meet government targets, it will be less restricted by central DoH control.

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N&N chief executive Paul Forden said: "Only the best performing hospitals can become Foundation Trusts so getting Department of Health approval for our plans reflects the hard work and dedication of our staff. By the end of March, one of the key components will be in place when our council of governors will be set up."

The N&N is continuing its drive to recruit public membership for the new foundation trust and it hopes to sign up 10,000 people, in addition to the 5,500 N&N staff who are already included. So far, more than 5,600 people have joined as public members.

Many of those members have already expressed an interest in becoming one of the 25 governors.

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