More time for foundation hospital bid

HEALTH chiefs at a Suffolk hospital have been given more time to draw up their bid to become a foundation trust.

Laurence Cawley

HEALTH chiefs at a Suffolk hospital have been given more time to draw up their bid to become a foundation trust.

West Suffolk Hospital Trust is planning to bid for foundation trust status would give it greater financial and operational freedom from the Department of Health.

But the trust applied for more time to prepare its bid to the independent regulator monitor. Extra time has now been awarded.

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Chris Bown, chief executive at the hospital, said: “We have been undergoing a very detailed assessment by Monitor, and following a positive meeting with the Monitor board it was agreed to allow the trust further time.

“Our aim now is to achieve foundation trust status during the next financial year.

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“Both Monitor and the trust board recognise that the national economic outlook and its potential impact on public spending is now very different to that envisaged at the start of our foundation trust application.

“We need to be able to assure Monitor that our long-term plans are sufficiently robust to meet the financial challenges this will bring. Also, as part of our application, we must demonstrate consistent delivery of the four hour accident and emergency wait target.”

Roger Quince, hospital trust chairman, said: “We have shown good financial management over the last few years which has put us on a firm financial footing.

“For the last two years, we have also received an “excellent” rating for the quality of our services from the Healthcare Commission and met the 18-week referral to treatment time target ahead of schedule, as well as significantly reducing the number of MRSA and Clostridium difficile infections acquired at the hospital. Our priority now is to ensure we consistently deliver the four hour accident and emergency target.

“As a trust board, we are confident that we will achieve foundation trust status and all our planning is on that basis.”

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