Doubts raised about foundation trust governance and accountability

In a recent exclusive interview with the Health Service Journal (HSJ) the health secretary for England, Andy Burnham, questioned the ability of foundation trust (FT) governors to hold boards to account.

When HSJ put it to him that foundation membership and local accountability had been something of a “damp squib”, the health secretary said: “You wouldn’t be wrong if you said that.”

He said the foundation trust vision had been one of “powerful governors that could hold FT managers to account, but I think there is more we can do on that”.

“The model was we traded some national accountability for stronger local accountability. I want to satisfy myself we really are getting that,” he said.

“There is more thinking to be done about accountability at the local level and if FTs are really following the aim of the policy set out in 2003-04 for real local accountability and the role of boards.”

The Department of Health could announce proposals to “strengthen” foundation trust accountability within weeks, Mr Burnham said.

Read the full HSJ article here (subscription to HSJ required).

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