Foundation trusts explained

A foundation trust is a type of NHS organisation that involves service users, carers, the public and staff in the way it is run.

They provide free care based on the needs of patients, they are regularly inspected and they are also required to meet at least the same standards of service and care as all NHS trusts.

Local people and staff can become members and governors of the foundation trust. In this way, foundation trusts become focused on meeting the requirements of the communities they serve.

Foundation trusts work in partnership with other NHS organisations. They also have a duty to cooperate with other local partners in the best interests of their health communities.

Foundation trusts are overseen by Monitor, an independent regulator appointed by the Department of Health. 
Read more about foundation trusts on the Monitor website

Benefits of foundation trusts

The key benefits of foundation trusts include:

  • Involvement from local communities and staff: local residents, service users and staff are able to become members of the trust. As members, these groups of people can become involved in decisions regarding the future direction of, and services provided by the trust.
  • Freedom to shape services to meet local needs: the trust is no longer subject to central control from the Department of Health and has more freedom to develop new services and ways of working that more closely meet the needs of the communities we serve.
  • Improved financial stability: CNWL has agreed legally binding contracts with commissioners for a three-year period from 1 May 2007, rather than having to negotiate funding annually. The trust can also carry forward any surplus at the end of each financial year to build funds for long-term developments.
  • Freedom to review capital investments: As a foundation trust, CNWL manages its own capital investments which allow us the flexibility to consider selling certain properties and using the capital to build or develop other sites designed to suit patient needs.