Health trust abandons foundation bid

A MENTAL health trust which has failed to meet two core Government standards has pulled out of its bid to become an NHS Foundation Trust.

Anthony Bond

A MENTAL health trust which has failed to meet two core Government standards has pulled out of its bid to become an NHS Foundation Trust.

Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust announced yesterdaythat it had decided to temporarily withdraw its application which would have given it greater freedoms to manage its own affairs and improve services.

In the Annual Health Check reports published by every NHS Trust earlier this week, it was found to have failed in two core areas relating to the quality of its buildings in Ipswich.

And it admitted that this had “indirectly” affecting the Foundation Trust application.

Spokeswoman Nicola Brown said: “We were non-compliant with two of the 43 standards in the Annual Health Check, both of which relate to the quality of buildings in Ipswich.”

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She added: “Although the state of buildings is significant, it's what happens inside and the care provided which is most important and we have been able to show a marked improvement in both standards of privacy and dignity and in catering.”

To improve its accommodation the trust is planning to build new wards on the Ipswich Hospital and St Clement's Hospital sites. It is a £24m project which also includes the refurbishment of an older ward at Wedgwood House in Bury St Edmunds and will be mainly funded by the sale of the majority of the St Clement's Hospital site.

“It's a massive project and, indirectly, it has had an affect on our Foundation Trust application because we are so far down the road with it that we need to concentrate our efforts on this project,” said Ms Brown.

“At the end of the day, healthcare has to come first and this building project - along with a number of other projects we are running - is really important in helping us achieve the best for our service users. We can rejoin the Foundation Trust later and will be operating as if we were already a Foundation Trust - we're just going to have to wait a little longer until we get the official nod.”