Key backing won for hospital bid

A HOSPITAL has won ministerial backing in its bid for greater independence.

Will Clarke

A HOSPITAL has won ministerial backing in its bid for greater independence.

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds took another step forward in its bid for foundation status today after winning the backing of the Secretary of State for health.

Alan Johnson MP has given the ok for the West Suffolk's bid to be put before the independent regulator of foundation trusts (Monitor), which will decide on the trust's application from February onwards.

Hospital managers want the hospital to have more freedom to develop services and give local people a more say in the way they are served.

Chris Bown, West Suffolk Hospital Trust chief executive welcomed the endorsement: “This announcement is another important step towards West Suffolk Hospital achieving foundation trust status.

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“We have sound financial and organisational management plans in place, which put us in a strong position to take our application forward.

“We have also had a huge response from the public in our bid to attract members, which shows the enormous interest which people in west Suffolk show in the trust and the support they have for the work we do.”

More than 4,000 people have expressed an interest in becoming involved in the hospital as a “member”, and the hospital is currently holding a series of meetings across West Suffolk with those keen to have an even stronger say by becoming a governor.

Over the next few weeks, around 250 people will attend meetings, held in Thetford, Newmarket, Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Sudbury, to find out more about the role and the election process.

A similar meeting has been organised for staff and volunteers who wish to become a governor.

The hospital is particularly keen to hear from younger people aged 16 and over who may be interested in becoming a member of the new foundation trust.

Anyone interested in becoming a member can fill in an application form available from the homepage of the hospital's website, at www.wsh.nhs.uk or by contacting the foundation trust office on 01284 712629.

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