THE Hillingdon Hospital Trust has today (Apr 1) been granted Foundation Trust status, after more than 7,000 local residents endorsed the plan.
It's new title will be the Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with the trust responsible for Hillingdon Hospital in Pield Heath Road, Hillingdon, and Mount Vernon Hospital in Rickmansworth Road, Northwood.
The trust has been working on gaining the status for several months, and has been 'meticulously assessed' by independent regulator for NHS Foundation Trusts, Monitor.
Monitor considered the Trust’s long term financial plans and integrated business plan amongst other key factors in the approval process.
Being a Foundation Trust will give the hospital greater freedom, at a crucial time, with the NHS braced for the biggest shake-up in its history, with controversial coalition plans for reform taking shape.
As a Foundation Trust Hillingdon will no longer report directly to the Department of Health, although it remains part of the National Health Service, providing free services to all its patients. It now means all three of the borough's hospitals are part of foundation trusts, with Harefield Hospital in Hill End Road, part of the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust which gained the status in 2009.
Mike Robinson, the trust chair, said: "This is fantastic news for our patients and the organisation. As a Foundation Trust we will be much more accountable to the local community and can enhance or tailor services to meet the needs of our patients. It puts us in the strongest possible position to take forward our plans to develop future services.
"I would like to thank the local community and all employees of the Trust for their support in helping us reach this milestone in the development of both our hospitals, Hillingdon and Mount Vernon. We are confident our patients will see the benefits of increased independence and public involvement."
MP Simon Burns, Health Minister, welcomed the decision. He said: "I am delighted that The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has achieved foundation status, bringing the total number of NHS Foundation Trusts to 137.
"This Trust has successfully demonstrated that it has the capacity and capability to operate effectively as an independent organisation on a permanent basis.
"Foundation Trusts enjoy greater freedom from day-to-day central controls and the benefits this brings, such as the ability to innovate new ways of delivering health services.
"The local community in Hillingdon will now have a greater say in how their local hospital service is delivered through a locally elected board of governors."
7,000 patients and residents had signed up to become members of the foundation trust, with a board of governors first elected in 2009, in anticipation of eventually gaining foundation status.
A list of the governors can be seen here http://www.thh.nhs.uk/Foundation/governor.htm
To sign up to become a member of The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call free phone on 0800 8766 953.