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Trust granted foundation status

PUBLISHED: 10:08 01 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:35 05 July 2010

The organisation responsible for mental health care across Norfolk and Waveney has been granted foundation trust status.

It has taken Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust more than two years to reach this position after a campaign hit by a number of setbacks.

The organisation responsible for mental health care across Norfolk and Waveney has been granted foundation trust status.

It has taken Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust more than two years to reach this position after a campaign hit by a number of setbacks.

But from today it becomes a foundation trust and will now be able to take greater control of its own affairs and break free of centralised NHS control.

The trust says its newly-granted specialist status brings with it huge benefits of local accountability and the flexibility to tailor services more effectively for people's needs.

Chairman Maggie Wheeler, said: “As an NHS foundation trust, we will now be able to do more things that will really make a difference - both to how we work and to those who use our services.

“We will also now be able to involve many more local people in shaping our health and social care services and understanding mental health. Through this we should also see changes in the way our communities support people, this is where our approach to the whole of people's lives is so important.”

The trust was invited to apply for foundation status in November 2005 and went out to public consultation from July-September 2006.

However, in March 2007 it decided to postpone its application after it became clear that one of the health organisations that would buy services from it - Norfolk Primary Care Trust - was heavily in debt and considered too much of a financial liability at the time.

Since then, the mental health trust has since strengthened its application and the PCT is set to balance its books after at one stage being in debt to the tune of £50m.

Monitor - which regulates foundation trust applications - agreed to the mental health trust pressing ahead last August and gave it the full go-ahead to be an foundation trust from today .

Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is the first of the three NHS mental health trusts in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to become a Foundation Trust.

Chief executive Pat Holman said: “We will also be able to make better use of the resource and talent available to us. We now have greater freedom to use our money wisely and more opportunities to invest in the services that are needed.

“Most importantly we can make and act on major decisions much more quickly. Things have certainly changed for the better.”

Local people are still being encouraged to join the trust as members and have a say in how the Trust operates through elected governors. Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust currently has over 5,500 members but is aiming to get this figure to 9,000.

For more information call 01603 421494 or e-mail foundationtrust@nwmhp.nhs.uk

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