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Hospitals invite public to help shape health care
HOSPITAL bosses are appealing for 1,500 people to help shape the future of health care in Oxfordshire.
The government wants all NHS care providers to gain foundation trust status – which would give them greater control over their finances – by 2014.
Foundation trusts are part of the NHS but independent bodies, run by a board of governors including patients, staff and members of the public.
The move depends on local people becoming members of the foundation trust, which help to elect the board of governors and feed into decisions.
So far about 16,500 staff and public members have pledged support.
But officials from the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said they need more people to show an interest before the end of September.
"These are your services, and this is your health, so please do become involved"Prof Ted Baker
Although there is no firm government guidance on how many members are needed, the trust has set its own target so the public members are representative of the population the county's major hospitals serve.
The first consultation event looking at foundation status was held at the Guildhall in Abingdon on Wednesday.
Barbara Beach, of Kennington, attended and said she would be interested in becoming a member.
She said: “I think it’s a good idea. At the moment, because of the economic climate people are totally despondent and feel quite helpless because we don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. This is an example of how we can.”
Former midwife Vaughan Haskins, also of Kennington, added: “Having worked in the NHS for many years it has always seemed to be constantly changing. I do recognise there is a need for change now.
“With more people from the frontline able to have their say, perhaps we will be able to improve it.”
OUH medical director Professor Ted Baker was at the event to answer questions about the change.
Prof Baker said: “As a foundation trust our board of directors will have the freedom to do what is best for our patients. It also gives our members a real say in how the hospitals are run. It’s about local democratic control. These are your services, and this is your health, so please do become involved.”
Anyone can become a member of the trust and help to elect governors from their geographical constituency.
Governors then approve the appointment of a trust chief executive and appoint auditors.
- The next consultation event will be held on Tuesday in Faringdon, at the Corn Exchange, between 6pm and 7.30pm. A full list of consultation events with venues and times can be found by clicking on the link to the trust's website.