Foundation Trust FAQs

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About Foundation Trust status

• What is a foundation trust?

• What makes foundation trusts different from other NHS trusts?

• Does a foundation trust remain part of the NHS?

Membership and Council of Governors

• What does membership mean?

• Who can become a member?

• What is the role of the Governors Council?


What is a Foundation Trust?

Foundation trusts are now the main type of NHS body responsible for managing NHS hospitals and services. They are answerable to their local community. As a foundation trust, Pennine Acute will remain firmly within the NHS but we will have greater accountability and be more responsive to our patients, the local community and our members of staff. These groups will have a greater say in how we develop our services and improve the care we provide to our patients.

Foundation trusts also have greater freedom over how they manage their finances, which will mean more freedom to decide on how to invest in services that will best meet the needs of its patients and public.

What makes Foundation Trusts different from NHS trusts?

Foundation trusts have more freedom to decide locally how to provide and improve services.  They are accountable to local people, who can become members and seek election to the Governors Council. They are authorised and monitored by Monitor, the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.

Does a Foundation Trust remain part of the NHS?

Yes. It is important to remember, that Foundation Trusts are still part of the NHS.   NHS care is still free at Foundation Trust hospitals.  Foundation Trusts have to meet the same quality standards as the rest of the NHS.

What does membership mean?

As a Foundation Trust the Pennine Acute will become a membership organisation with public and staff members. The membership will elect a Council of Governors that holds Pennine Acute’s Trust Board to account on behalf of the local community. Members will be in a position to help influence decisions that will impact on the development of the trust's services.

The purpose of membership is to ‘have your say’ in how the trust provides and improves services.

Who can become a member?

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 14 who lives in England.  You simply need to register with us. All staff employed by us will automatically become members of the Foundation Trust unless they choose to opt out of membership.

What is the role of the Council of Governors?

The Council of Governors will hold the Board of Directors to account on behalf of the community, will be consulted on the future strategy of the Trust, and provide a critical link between the hospital and the different areas and people it serves. Governors give up their time voluntarily and make a major contribution to the way the Trust relates to its patients and the wider community. The governors do not ‘run’ the hospital, the board of directors does that. However, the governors work with them to hold the hospital to account to the local population.

Proposals for our Council of Governors are being reviewed and will be publicised during our refresh of the consultation during 2016.