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New Clause 12 — De-authorisation of NHS foundation trusts

Part of New Member – in the House of Commons at 4:38 pm on 12th October 2009.

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Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Health Services), Department of Health 4:38 pm, 12th October 2009

There will clearly be variation in the work that trusts-whether foundation or, indeed, non-foundation-are able to conduct in public and in private. Some of their work is about contracts, including which contracts they are going for and how they make judgments and arrangements in relation to them, so some matters are commercially confidential. However, we need to ensure that trusts-whether foundation or non-foundation-are accountable publicly, so as much as possible should be in the public arena.

I agree with my hon. Friend as far as that is concerned, but let me say this: the foundation trust model is a key plank of reform, allowing greater freedom and autonomy to those who can demonstrate high performance. FT status is a hard-earned privilege and an incentive to drive up quality, innovation, productivity and local accountability. When an FT has failed to live up to that standard and public confidence has been damaged, it is in our interests to ensure that the privileges of FT status are withdrawn. When I say "in our interests", I am talking about the interests of the public as a whole in ensuring that the foundation trust brand justifies giving such freedom and responsibility.

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