Four NHS foundation trusts given green light to lead hospital chains

19 Aug 16

Four foundation trusts have been accredited by watchdog NHS Improvement to lead the creation of hospital chains intended to help share best practice across the health service.

It is hoped that linking hospitals together will improve clinical and financial performance, and create more sustainable services for patients. It will also allow hospitals to share best practice more readily, to improve care.

The four accredited group leaders are: Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust; Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust; and, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.

Each of the four leaders are part of a group of 13 acute care collaboration vanguards which have a remit to spread excellence in hospital services and management across multiple geographical areas.

Vanguards were introduced under the new care models programme, launched in 2015, and are seen as key to delivering the NHS Five Year Forward View. They are involved in trailing different models of care delivery and integration, such as buddying, partnerships and federations, through to formal consolidation through mergers and acquisitions.

NHS Improvement is the new body delivering oversight and support to foundation trusts, NHS trusts and independent providers. It was formed when the government merged Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority and was launched in April this year.

The leadership accreditation process involved the watchdog examining each prospective group leader’s quality, financial performance and management capacity. It also took into account the stability of the provider and its ability to deliver on plans.

The four group leaders will now begin to implement their new models in 2016/17.

NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey said the accreditations represented a big step forward. “It is a great example of how we can ensure as many patients as possible benefit from the best leadership the NHS has to offer,” he said.

“Being in a group isn’t right for everyone. The accreditation process considered not only the quality of services on offer and the management trusts have, but also the benefits that trusts will get from being part of a group and the potential risks they face.”

David Mowat, minister for community health and care, said it was vital that trusts are able to share best practice and learn from each other. He said: “The new foundation group leaders will not only drive up standards, but support the innovative new models of care programme that is delivering positive change across the NHS.”

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