The government has extended the deadline for all trusts to achieve foundation trust status by April 2014, but still expects the majority to become foundation trusts, either on their own or through merger “as soon as clinically feasible”.
The latest National Audit Office study on the subject has reported that 80% of trusts in England yet to achieve foundation status are facing financial issues. Twenty have been identified as struggling to reach Foundation status by 2014.
Achieving Foundation status does create an opportunity for Trusts to enjoy more autonomy in how they manage the trust and commission services. It also means that they will be competing with other Foundation trusts in order to provide a better quality of care and to demonstrate they are well run. This has considerable implications for how the hospital is managed, how best business practise is ensured and employed by the Trust management and how a strict adherence to operational ‘governance guidance’ is observed.
“All NHS organisations not already an NHS Foundation trust in England have had to undertake a review of whether they can meet the financial standards required to be given the status of a foundation trust.
Some may try to merge, or be forced to, with more successful nearby NHS hospital trusts. Others will watch what happens at Hinchinbrook with interest. If Circle manages to maintain the range and standards of care at Hinchinbrook, but also cut costs, that in itself could put pressure on NHS managers at other hospitals to do the same”. – BBC report
NHS Foundation Trusts are more accountable to local people through their membership, made up of NHS staff, residents and stakeholder organisations. Becoming a Foundation trust has considerable implications for the training of management staff, and will have a major impact on their job roles, responsibilities and the hospital culture. Senior management will also have to answer to Monitor who have been granted more teeth by the Government for ensuring FT’s adhere to best practise and strict governance and procedures.
Monitor is the independent Government appointed Department which assesses whether NHS trusts can become foundation trusts. They then regulate them, making sure they are well run on behalf of patients and taxpayers.
NHS Trust staff will require training across management best practise, governance and adapting to change at a time when budgets are be squeezed and efficiency savings are being enforced in line with the QIPP agenda.
Flexible creative training solutions for staff will be required which both skill them up in necessary best practise and also help them adjust to the cultural change and recognise the changes in their own behaviour and working methods which may be required.
The Survey of NHS Foundation Trust Governors reported that Trust “governors believe training is important and would like more, in particular on the practical aspects of being a governor, and the roles of different bodies in the NHS”.
Trusts who meet this challenge head on and provide their staff with on going training support, both on best practise and winning the mind share, and explaining why the change is taking place will be much more likely to have productive responses from their staff, who will, after all, be at the sharp end of implementing the necessary changes and reforms.
Catalyst Learning & Development provide a broad range of cost effective and flexible training solutions either bespoke or in conjunction with the ILM and City and Guilds to help Trusts meet challenges posed by the on-going changes these challenges pose for NHS management.
Catalyst has worked with and within the NHS for a period of over 14 years. We are very proud of this association and of the wide range of training and expertise we have brought in such areas as leadership & management, soft skills, coaching, IT and project management in this time and which we continue to bring.