QA trust is ready to push ahead for foundation status

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Plans in place to help failing Portsmouth care homes

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THE organisation that runs Queen Alexandra Hospital says it faces a brighter future after signing an agreement to become a foundation trust.

The move will mean the trust will get to have more say on what services it offers, and can tailor them to what is needed in Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

The Department of Health and the Strategic Health Authority have signed an agreement with the trust to support it becoming a foundation trust.

A board of governors made up of patients, staff and members of the public will be appointed, who can have a say on how things are run.

Councillor Peter Edgar, who is a member of the trust’s council of governors, said: ‘This is tremendous news, but it’s been a long time coming.

‘Foundation trusts are the way hospitals are going to be run in the future, and it would be devastating if we were left behind. It is absolutely vital for our concentrated population that we get this status.

‘This is going to give local people more power and control, and make the whole process more democratic.

‘Trust status means it can help us with our retention of services such as vascular, and the renal unit, which is renowned throughout the country.’

Now that a formal agreement has been signed by the three major health bodies, an application for foundation trust status will be submitted to Monitor – the independent regulator of foundation trusts before March 31, 2013.

Ursula Ward, the trust’s chief executive, said: ‘We are committed to becoming a foundation trust so we gain longer-term benefits.

‘The trust will continue to work ever-more closely with our council of governors to ensure the public has a significant voice in decisions affecting future healthcare service provision.’

The hospital says its financial situation – which has seen it have to make cutbacks to pay PFI bills – will not prevent it becoming a foundation trust