New alliance calls on government to withdraw bill on foundation hospital trusts

A new alliance of groups against the introduction of foundation trusts in the NHS has called on the government to withdraw proposals until more consultation has taken place.

July 1, 2003 · 2 min read

Foundation Trusts Concern told the government last week (24 June 2003) that the proposals in the bill on foundation trusts “have not been tried or tested”. The group argued: “the very least [Health Secretary John Reid] could do is initiate a trial or pilot in a local area to see what the impact will be on patient care in the trust and surrounding areas.”

While the group – which includes the public sector union Unison, the GMB, and health sector groups such as the NHS Support Federation, Society of Radiographers, NHS Consultants Association and the Democratic Health Network – is not ideologically opposed to foundations trusts hospitals, it believes the current bill as drafted by the Department of Health contains “serious, significant flaws”.

The alliance claims that foundation trusts will lead to increased competition in the NHS as part of a commercial market, in which ‘the measure of success is how well hospitals compete against each other for patients’.

Foundation Trusts Concern also argues that government proposals will not improve accountability, since foundation trusts will define their own constituencies, trust members will be self-selecting, and trusts will be accountable to an independent regulator rather than the government.

Critics on the Labour backbenches and within the NHS had hoped that the government’s position would be tempered with the appointment of John Reid MP as health secretary, following the resignation of Alan Milburn MP.

But John Reid told the NHS Confederation annual conference in Glasgow last Friday that he would “maintain the direction on which we are already embarked”.

Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, criticised the new health secretary’s support of foundation hospitals: ‘to say that patient health care will be provided more equally through market-style reforms is a contradiction.”

Jennings pointed out that a previous Labour NHS white paper dismantled the internal market introduced under the Conservatives because it was seen to create an unequal service.


Refugee family reunification during a pandemic

Border closures and travel restrictions caused by the pandemic have made family reunification difficult for refugees. But, as Luke Butterly reports, these rights have been eroded over a number of years

On a rainy day and evening the CAA-NPR-NRC protesters are still in Shaheen Bagh . People have come to support from far and wide

Shaheen Bagh lives on

The women of a south Delhi neighbourhood have inspired a protest movement which will long outlive their temporary encampment, writes Ananya Wilson-Bhattacharya

Prison profits over healthcare

Private prisons are bad for prisoners’ health, writes Isaac Ricca-Richardson, but state control is little better while neoliberalism still holds sway


One million hours of solitude

Simon Hedges shares his tips on surviving lockdown and government ineptitude

No solutions, no justice: Covid-19 and BAME communities

Apsana Begum MP asks why no action has been taken to protect BAME communities from Covid-19, despite the Government report revealing disproportionate impact

Brazilian oligarchs sacrifice people for profit

Business leaders are using social media and political influence to spread coronavirus disinformation – and endangering thousands of lives. Raphael Tsavkko Garcia reports