St George’s Healthcare Trust today becomes St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust, after being granted foundation trust status.
The south London provider has seen several deferrals to its attempts to get licensed as a foundation trust, having previously had to wait for an inspection under the Care Quality Commission’s new regime.
In December its application was deferred because it did not have in place the commercial overdraft facilities that the regulator Monitor requires foundation trusts to have.
It now has these facilities and has promised Monitor it will improve its accident and emergency performance, which has declined over the past year.
“This is a great day for our staff, our patients and the communities we serve”
The £664m turnover organisation is the largest trust to become a foundation since the NHS Trust Development Authority was set up following the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Trust chief executive Miles Scott said: “This is a great day for our staff, our patients and the communities we serve. Achieving foundation trust status is a recognition of the high quality services and safe care we provide in hospital and in the community.
“Our success is the result of a long period of improvement from a workforce whose energy, commitment and compassion is outstanding,” he said.
“In authorising us, Monitor has said it will keep a close eye on the waiting times for patients in our emergency department. We will continue working hard to reduce this and to provide the best possible care for every patient, no matter how busy we are,” he added.
Miranda Carter, Monitor’s executive director of provider appraisal, said: “We are delighted to announce that Monitor has allowed St George’s Healthcare Trust to become a foundation trust. This is great news for the trust, which benefits from new freedoms, but even better news for its patients, who can have a greater say over their health services.
“The trust has worked very hard to achieve foundation trust status and should feel proud of this accomplishment,” she said.
There are now 149 foundation trusts in England, comprising over 60% of all trusts in the NHS. Their creation was begun under Labour, with the first 10 foundation trusts announced in 2004.
Foundation trusts have more freedoms than other trusts, which have to answer directly the government, and are able to retain any surpluses they generate to invest in new services.