Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Have NHS Foundation Trusts got a future?

The government has published its plans for the introduction of any qualified provider into the NHS (see operational guidance). This confirms that the implementation will be gradual and, at least initially, quite limited.

Nonetheless, as I said in a previous post, this is the main substantive reform of the NHS. The rest has mainly been yet another structural reorganisation, which staff in the NHS have become fatigued with over the years. Just changing the structure doesn't improve the service and it costs a lot of money that could have been spent on services.

And, as Oliver Letwin has made clear (see Guardian article), this government thinks the way to improve productivity in the NHS is to create fear that publicly provided services will not survive. Actually the way to stimulate NHS Foundation Trusts is to support them, not undermine them.

With the introduction of other providers, the share of the market for NHS Foundation Trusts will inevitably reduce. Unless the political will changes, Anglia Mental Health Community Interest Company is planning to provide primary care psychological therapies, including systemic family therapy for identified children's problems, before moving on to develop a full range of mental health services. And I say this as a current governor of a Foundation Trust (I have declared my interest), who believes in representing the public interest.

No comments: