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Mental health foundation trusts

2nd May 2006

02052006_handshake1.jpgMonitor, the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts, has announced the first mental health trusts approved as NHS foundation trusts.

They are;

Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust;
South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; and
South Staffordshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The authorisation will be effective from 1 May 2006; it brings the total number of NHS foundation trusts to 35. To date only acute care NHS trusts have applied and been authorised as NHS foundation trusts.

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust has requested a deferral of the consideration of its application, to which Monitor has agreed.  This will allow further time for the trust to complete negotiations with commissioners and to address significant issues relating to financial controls and financial management, say Monitor.

The Chairman of Monitor, William Moyes, said that Mental health trusts already provide diverse models of care and treatment, in partnership with a range of public, private and voluntary organisations. He continued 'NHS foundation trusts status will allow them to further develop services, taking advantage of the freedoms that foundation trust status provides.'

The three mental health NHS foundation trusts have recruited more than 11,000 patient and public members; membership of foundation trusts by the local community, patients and staff is one of the benefits of the foundation trust model. Mr Moyes concluded 'that the engagement of the local community, with patients with mental illness and the staff will strengthen the position of these organisations in their local communities.'

At the same time as the announcement the Department of Health and Monitor jointly published guidance for mental health trusts applying for NHS foundation trust status, based on the experience of processing these first mental health trust applicants.

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