Kent and Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust [KMPT] who delivers Mental Health services for people of all ages living in Kent and Medway in partnership with Kent County Council Social Services are applying to become a Foundation Trust [FT].
KMPT is the largest provider inKentof more specialised mental health services than those that may be provided by a General Practitioner [GP]. Mental health services are provided through:
•Inpatient units (hospital wards)
•Outpatient units (day centres)
•Community teams (treating people at home or locations local to them)
Services are generally split into adult and older people over local areas; in addition to community, inpatient and outpatient services, KMPT also provide a number of non-mental health services across the county and some learning disability services. Further details about these and the Trust can be found on their website www.kmpt.nhs.co.uk.
“So what is different about a FT?”
All NHS Trusts currently report to the Department of Health [DoH]; however NHS Trusts now have the opportunity to work more independently of the DoH and become more accountable to the public they serve, creating a more ‘patient-led’ NHS. FT’s are still part of the NHS but under the FT regime, local managers will have scope for greater innovation, managerial and financial freedom when compared with a traditional NHS hospital trust.
“Who will govern FT’S?”
Trusts that are successful in becoming FT’s are still accountable to Parliament but also to their Council of Governors. The Council of Governors is made up of elected and appointed governors. Elected governors are elected either by the public or the staff membership groups. Appointed governors are from partner and stakeholder organisations where the Trust believes the input from these organisations is important to the services provided by the Trust. Representation from commercial and employers organisations is important to KMPT strategy and services.
FTs are regulated by an independent regulator, Monitor, who will ensure that the DoH is kept informed of any concerns. The Care Quality Commission [CQC] also retains all of its rights of inspection and responsibilities for ensuring standards of care.
“What are the benefits of Trust’s becoming FT’s?”
FT’s will have the opportunity to deliver services according to the needs of their local community and will be able to set their own priorities for investment in services. The public, patients and staff will have a greater say in how the Trust is run by becoming members. In turn, members will be eligible to stand for election to become governors; governors will have an active role in shaping the strategic direction of the Trust and will help promote the organisation and raise the profile of mental health in their local communities, through acting as ambassadors. Governors are not involved in the day to day running of the Trust but play a key role in shaping the services that they provide for the people of Kent and Medway. They have legal powers and responsibilities including holding the Trust Board of Directors to account.
“What are the timelines?”
The Trust is currently undergoing external assessment on its Quality, Board Governance and Finance. The Strategic Health Authority [SHA] will then review the output from these assessments and together with the evidence from its own review, make a decision as to whether to recommend to the Secretary of State [SoS] that the Trust is a credible candidate to be a FT. If SoS approval is given there will then be a period of assessment by Monitor; however the timing of this is entirely at Monitor discretion so this is not exact. Once the Trust has satisfied the Monitor criteria, Foundation Trust status will be granted.
KMPT are keen for external stakeholders to be informed of this application and show their support by considering becoming members. Members can register at www.kmpt.nhs.uk/membership where you can also find out more about FT’s and becoming a governor. If you would like to make a comment on the application or have a further discussion with the FT team, please do not hesitate to contact us via: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 0800 376 9229
Foundation Trust Liaison Manager: Teresa Utting on 01732 520400 Extn 4453 email@example.com