An important survey has been set up by St George’s Healthcare, inviting feedback from local primary care professionals regarding the trust’s plans to become a foundation trust (FT).
The FT application is a real opportunity for St George’s Healthcare to build with GPs and commissioners on a mutual mission of improving local healthcare and reducing health inequalities. A recent public consultation on the trust’s plans to become a FT indicated strong support and membership recruitment is underway with 3,500 recruited towards the trust’s target of attaining 6,000 public members by June 2011.
However, for the trust to achieve its vision of being a FT at the heart of a thriving healthcare system, it must explore the opinions and develop closer working relationships with primary care colleagues.
“St George’s becoming a FT will serve to benefit GPs locally, with two seats on the council of governors allocated to local PCTs, which in the near future will be taken over by GP consortia,” Says Dominic Dickinson, primary care liaison manager. ”Having local healthcare services prioritised and managed locally, with the power to invest and introduce change, is hugely important for patients in southwest London.
“The trust wants GPs to come forward to represent their local communities on the council of governors or, of course, simply become members, but what we really need at this important stage in the application process is more opinion and feedback from GPs about what they think of the plans,” Says Dominic.
The Health White Paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS expects all NHS trusts in England to have become FTs by 2013 or become vulnerable to takeover by established FTs.
The benefits to the trust of achieving FT status include greater accountability to members, the power to develop services responsive to local need, and the ability to re-invest surpluses and maintain independence.