THE north east has become the first region in England to have all of its NHS trusts awarded foundation trust status.
The latest organisation to be given the status is the North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust, joining others including Northumberland Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
Officials at Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS foundation trusts, awarded the status on November 1, giving the ambulance service more control over planning and providing services to meet local needs and priorities.
NHS foundation trusts still provide and develop healthcare in line with principles set out in the NHS Constitution.
Ian Dalton, chief executive of NHS North of England, said: “All trusts have to go through a rigorous and detailed assessment process to achieve foundation status and show they are delivering services to meet local needs, managing within budget, and have clear, robust plans in place for the future.
“The news is testament to the hard work and commitment of all staff at North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and further recognition of how well the NHS in this part of the country is progressing.”
Health Minister Simon Burns said: “I am delighted that North East Ambulance Service has achieved foundation status, bringing the total number of NHS foundation trusts to 140.
“This trust has successfully demonstrated that it has the capacity and capability to operate effectively as an independent organisation on a permanent basis.
“The communities in the north east will now have a greater say in how their local ambulance service is delivered through a locally elected board of governors.
“It is great news that every acute, mental health and ambulance trust in the north east is now an NHS foundation trust – the first region in England to achieve this.”