A health trust based in Brighton has been awarded “foundation trust” status, giving it greater financial freedom.
Bosses at Sussex Community Trust, which has its headquarters at the Brighton General Hospital, in Elm Grove, Brighton, shared the news at a board meeting today (Thursday 31 March).
Chief executive Paula Head emailed staff as soon as she had told the board. She said that as well as the financial benefits, the new status meant the trust had a formal way of involving staff and patients more in decision-making.
Representatives from both groups would become governors, able to influence decisions and help hold the board and the trust as a whole to account.
The community trust covers much of the wider county of Sussex, as well as Brighton and Hove, so the staff and community governors would, she hoped, also improve two-way communication.
Sue Sjuve, who chairs the trust board, said: “This is well-deserved recognition of the hard work of our colleagues and their energy, commitment and compassion.
“This is good news too for the local community that we serve. We have a vibrant membership and a Council of Governors who are ready to get started on their important role of holding the trust leadership to account and ensuring that we have a high level of public engagement in our work.”
Trust chief executive Paula Head said: “Our staff have worked hard for this. I am immensely proud of each and every one of them.
“They have risen to this challenge and work hard to provide high-quality care 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
“This is an exciting time in our development and we’re determined to provide excellent care in partnership with the community, in line with Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View.”
Sussex Community Foundation Trust is the main provider of community NHS health care throughout the area.
According to the trust website: “Our expert teams provide essential medical, nursing and therapeutic care to over 8,000 adults, children and families a day.
“From our health visitors looking after newborn babies to our community practitioners (nurses and therapists) caring for the frail elderly and people nearing the end of their life, we look after some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“The quality of our care has been rated by the Care Quality Commission as good almost across the board, outstanding in some places, and with some actions required in others.
“We have been named for the second year running in the national Best Places to Work list of 120 top NHS organisations In England.”
The trust’s formal title will change to Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) from tomorrow (Friday) 1 April.
The trust said that the new status “gives staff and local people a greater say in their healthcare through the membership and council of governors and will give the trust more freedom to shape services around local needs”.
It added: “To achieve authorisation all elements of the trust’s care and business have been reviewed, including the quality of its services, its financial performance, leadership and governance.
“Patients, carers, staff and the public can get more directly involved in how their local organisation is run. They can help shape services in the area and help realise local needs and priorities.
“They can achieve this by becoming a member of the trust or a governor. Local people are encouraged to join as a member by completing an online form: www.sussexcommunity.nhs.uk/ft.”