Trust bids to change status

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust launches it bid for NHS Foundation Trust status with public consultation.

THE way healthcare in North Devon is run is changing as healthcare authorities seek to seize the reins of their own destiny in a move they say will create better services for local people.

Today (Thursday) Northern Devon Healthcare Trust officially launches a public consultation on its bid to become an NHS Foundation Trust, with a series of open meetings across the region.

These will be held in Barnstaple Guildhall on Thursday, November 10 and the Market Hall in Holsworthy on Wednesday, November 16, both at 6pm. Further meetings will be held at Okehampton, Exmouth, Ottery St Mary and Exeter. More venues are to be announced as the consultation progresses.

The government requires all NHS trusts to apply for Foundation status by 2014 and if Northern Devon is successful it would no longer be accountable to Department of Health direction but an independent regular.

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The trust says it would become more accountable to its community, with local people able to sign up as members and have a greater say in the activities of the trust.

There would also be a Council of Governors, elected by the trust members and which works alongside the board of directors. More than half of the Board would be local people, service users or carers. Places are reserved for staff and for local partner organisations.

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The change would also mean greater financial and commercial freedom, with the trust able to exercise more control over its resources, for example by choosing how it might reinvest surplus money.

The trust also says it will be able to offer even better “joined up care” for patients both in hospital and when they are back home through after care and outpatient appointments.

People have been urged to attend the open public consultations in November and December to have their say on the plans, as well as local NHS services and where they think efforts should be made to improve them.

“We feel that, as an NHS Foundation Trust, we can play a much greater role in supporting the health needs of our local communities,” said chief executive Jac Kelly.

“These meetings are your chance to let us know what you think about your plans so I would urge as many of you as possible to come along.

“Members are the basis of an NHS Foundation Trust and membership is open to any local resident. As a member, you can make your voice heard and directly influence the way healthcare services are shaped and delivered in your community. “It is your chance to make a real difference to your local NHS and we would greatly value your support.”

The Trust currently manages a wide portfolio of services across Devon including North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple, 17 community hospitals in North, East and Mid Devon and a wide range of adult community health and social care services.

People can visit the trust website at to find out more, complete the consultation or a form to become a member of the new trust.

Alternatively email, telephone (01271) 313971 or write to FREEPOST, Business Reply RSAH-JRBJ-BJUT, Foundation Trust office, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, EX31 4JB.

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