Foundation plans dropped by NHS Direct5th November 2008
NHS Direct has revealed that it will not apply to become a foundation trust in the foreseeable future.
However, NHS Direct chief executive Matt Tee has said the organisation will still continue to pursue some of the benefits that would have arisen from gaining foundation trust status but will seek to achieve them without going through the "Monitor process".
He said the decision had been made following a review of its operating and commissioning models and in the light of the final report of Lord Darzi’s Next Stage Review.
NHS Direct will instead put in place a strategic health authority lead commissioning arrangement which will see its services commissioned by NHS East of England rather than by the Department of Health.
NHS Direct gained agreement with the Department of Health that the traditional model of foundation trust "may not be the most appropriate at the moment" as its strengths were national rather than local.
However, NHS Direct plans to retain the 16,000 members recruited during a consultation on foundation status.
NHS Direct and NHS Choices are planning to merge their online presence and will look at working to develop a multi-media response service for patients.
Mr Tee said: "For example, people might get to the end of the information on NHS Choices and find a note asking whether they would like to speak to a nurse about their concern."
He said people should be able to get the help they need where they come through a website or by phone.
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