NEAS celebrates foundation trust status
NEAS becomes 140th foundation trust
The North East Ambulance Service is delighted to announce that
it has become only the third ambulance trust in England to become
an NHS foundation trust. This follows an intensive period of
assessment by the health regulator, Monitor.
The change in status means local people will have a greater
influence over how NEAS operates in the future.
NEAS began the application process three and a half years ago.
There are now 140 NHS foundation trusts
Simon Featherstone, Chief Executive, said, "I believe that as an
NHS foundation trust we will be able to work more closely with
members of the public in our area, reflecting their needs in the
development of our services, ensuring that health care is timely
and effective and making a major contribution to the wellbeing of
people in our community.
"We will have more freedom to look for better ways of meeting
our own patients' particular needs and priorities however we will
be closely regulated by Monitor to make sure we continue to meet
performance and other NHS standards whilst maintaining the
excellent quality of care to our patients."
As a foundation trust, NEAS has recruited more than 7,500
foundation trust members across the North East. The views and
opinions of these members will be made known at future board
meetings, through a Council of Governors, and will play a prominent
role in any future decision making.
Dell, Chairman of NEAS, said: "This is an incredible
achievement and a credit to all the hard work and effort that
everyone has made on this journey."
Chris Harrison, Director of Workforce and Organisation
Development at NEAS, said: "The assessment process is a rigorous
one and only the best NHS organisations become foundation trusts.
Through everyone's endeavours we have demonstrated that we are
worthy of this status by being legally constituted, financially
sustainable, well-governed and locally representative."
Health Minister Simon Burns said: "I am delighted that the North
East Ambulance Service has achieved foundation status, bringing the
total number of NHS foundation trusts to 140. These trusts
have successfully demonstrated that they have the capacity and
capability to operate effectively as an independent organisation on
a permanent basis.
"Foundation trusts enjoy greater freedom from day-to-day central
controls and the benefits this brings, such as the ability to
innovate new ways of delivering health services.
"The local community in the North East will now have a greater
say in how their local NHS service is delivered through a
locally elected board of governors."
Decisions on authorisations of foundation trusts are strictly a
matter for Monitor as the authorisation process is entirely
independent of Ministers and the Department of Health.
NEAS will benefit from a variety of new freedoms:
NHS foundation trusts are free from central government control and
are able to decide how to improve their services;
NHS foundation trusts retain any surpluses they generate to invest
in new services, and can borrow money to support these investments;
NHS foundation trusts are accountable to their local communities;
local people can become members and governors.
These freedoms mean NHS foundation trusts can better shape their
healthcare services around local needs and priorities and the
requirements of their primary care trusts.
Under proposals in the current Health and Social Care Bill all
remaining eight ambulance trusts will aim to become a foundation
trust, or form part of one, by April 2014.
Commenting on the authorisation, Stephen Hay, Monitor's Chief
Operating Officer said:
"To become a foundation trust, the organisation - whether
ambulance, acute, mental health or community trust - must be able
to demonstrate that it is financially robust and that it has strong
governance, both in terms of quality and finances. In
Monitor's view, these are standards that all providers of NHS care
should be expected to meet."
"We are committed to seeing all trusts capable of becoming
foundation trusts, including ambulance and community trusts, come
forward to Monitor for assessment, and will be working with the
Department of Health to help it achieve this. Our priority is to
ensure that our assessment standards remain high and consistent
throughout the drive to ensure all eligible trusts reach foundation