The Socialist Unity Network

First foundation hospitals named

Jim Jepps


The first hospitals to have gained foundation status have been named Read the BBC report here.

These hospitals, which will appropriately take on their new status on April 1st, is a  further move into a two tier health system and are the first steps towards an entirely private NHS.

These plans are part and parcel of the national privatisation agenda. An agenda that is agreed upon by all three mainstream parties. Whilst the government made great play of introducing a national pay scale for all NHS workers (Agenda For Change) and spun some rather ludicrous claims about what this would mean for health workers' pay packets this scheme reinforces how the whole strategy of government towards health cuts across any attempt to introduce a fair and equal deal for all.

Not only will foundation hospitals be able to opt out of the national pay bargaining (possibly increasing wages to poach the best staff from the surrounding area) large numbers of jobs that were traditionally done by people employed directly by the NHS are now done by workers employed by other firms - usually either contractors or nursing agencies. They are of course not bound by any national deal and always, but always, pay less for more work.

There are also concerns that foundation hospitals will concentrate their resources on the areas that will generate the most secure return, rather than where there is the most clinical need.

These plans for foundation hospitals were only just got through Parliament last year and the significant back bench revolt is a pale imitation of the concerns that trade unions, the work force and the wider public have about what is happening to health care in this country.

There are a good number of excellent resources on the net which can help us understand what the implication of foundation hospitals will be on the health system at large. Whether its the impact of opting out and further fragmenting the national network or how foundations will be free to develop further ways of making money out of both patients and staff.

I've listed below a few resources that will help people assess the impact of these moves. Feel free to send in others if you know of them.


What they say Department of Health press release

UNISON against foundation hospitals https://www.unison.org.uk/foundation/

Article from Colchester Socialist Alliance What's wrong with foundation status

Oxford campaign against foundation hospitals https://www.nofoundation.org.uk/


The ten hospitals named are

  • Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals
  • Bradford Hospitals
  • Countess of Chester Hospital
  • Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals
  • Homerton University Hospital
  • Moorfields Eye Hospital
  • Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals
  • Royal Devon and Exeter
  • The Royal Marsden
  • Stockport NHS Trust

There are also another 13 are waiting in the wings hoping to be given foundation status

There is no doubt that this will e a hard campaign to win. Once the principle of foundations has been established it will be hard to argue with local people why they at least should not benefit by their general hospital going foundation.

Where the pro-foundations lobby say it will increase local say in the running of the hospital the whole process will be a farce that involves no real community involvement while the real power goes to the new-quangos which will siphon away costs from the front line for administration of the new beast.

What we have to make clear is that by pulling the NHS into the private sector we will all suffer, the only civilised way of organising a health system is for the public good and not for private profit. We don't need foundation hospitals, all the so called benefits could be achieved without eroding democratic, public ownership.




March 2004