Hospital's Foundation Trust hopes raised

SIGNIFICANT steps have been made in the campaign to allow Ipswich Hospital to run its own affairs, it can be revealed today.s.

IPSWICH: Significant steps have been made in the campaign to allow Ipswich Hospital to run its own affairs, it can be revealed today.

The hospital has not only been given the go-ahead by the East of England Strategic Health Authority to proceed with its bid to become a Foundation Trust (FT), it now also has the required number of people who have signed up to be FT members.

Foundation Trusts are NHS trusts, which have become independent from the government, enabling them to make decisions at a local level. As they are accountable to local people, each FT must involve a board of governors (comprising patients, staff, members of the public and partner organisations).

Ipswich Hospital's fate now lies in the hands of the Department of Health, which is currently assessing the bid. There will be an inspection by Monitor, the independent regulator for NHS Foundation Trusts, in April, and if all goes according to plan, the hospital could be awarded FT status in June this year.

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said: “It is a requirement that all Foundation Trusts have at least one per cent of the community they serve as public membership. There are 340,000 people who live in the area we serve and we needed to have 3,400 people who wanted to back the hospital.

“It is fantastic that we have created that ahead of our plan of when we hoped to get there. We would now encourage as many people as possible to back the hospital. It is also really pleasing that so many people have shown an interest in becoming a public governors.”

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So far 4,040 members have signed up to become FT members. It is hoped that once FT status is gained, there will be 7,000 members by next year.

There will be a series of introductory meetings held across the region from February 18 until the end of March for those interested in becoming public governors.

If you want to become an FT member, call the hospital on 01473 704769 or visit

Do you think it is important the hospital gets FT status? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail