Monitor has authorised West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust as a foundation trust, effective from January 1 2013.
The regulator also announced that applications by Leicestershire Partnerships and East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trusts have been deferred for six and 12 months respectively. The deferral decisions relate to concerns that the trusts have not yet demonstrated that they meet the necessary quality performance threshold for authorisation.
Leicestershire Partnerships NHS Trust has not yet provided Monitor with sufficient evidence that it has appropriate quality governance arrangements in place.
East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust was found to have failed its 19 minute response time target and has not yet provided evidence that it has a robust action plan in place to address this. In addition the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is giving further consideration to quality information before being ready to conclude on its assurance position on all CQC essential standards. Monitor will not authorise trusts without this assurance.
During the deferral period these two trusts will need to demonstrate they have implemented action plans to meet these requirements.
The authorisation of West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust means there are now 145 NHS foundation trusts in total, of which 41 are mental health trusts.
The trust will now benefit from a variety of new freedoms. NHS foundation trusts are:
· free from central government control and able to decide how to improve their services;
· able to retain any surpluses they generate to invest in new services, and can borrow money to support these investments;
· accountable to their local communities, with local people as members and governors.
These freedoms mean West Midlands Ambulance Service can better shape its healthcare services around local needs and priorities, in line with the requirements of its commissioners.