Here are the answers to some of the questions we are most frequently asked about membership of our Foundation Trust.
What is a foundation trust?
NHS foundation trusts are a form of what is called a ‘public benefit corporation’ – healthcare organisations that exist solely for the benefit of their patients but which operate in a similar way to a commercial business.
Foundation trusts remain part of the NHS and committed to NHS principles of free care based on need and not ability to pay.
However, they are subject to less central government control and are free to set their own strategy for improving and developing services in line with local priorities and needs, as well as to borrow money and invest surplus income in new services, equipment and innovations.
Foundation trusts are overseen by NHS Improvement acting as Monitor, the regulator of health services in England, to ensure they meet the required standards of service, financial control and governance. They are also answerable to their membership through their Council of Governors, which works with its trust’s board of directors and holds them to account.
What does membership involve?
Members can be involved as much or as little as they wish.
Some members prefer to use their membership as an information service to keep up to date with what is happening in their local hospitals. Others want to have a more active role, such as taking part in specific projects, attending Medicine for Members sessions or standing for election as a governor.
Who can become a member?
You can become a public member of the trust if you are aged 16 or over and live in any of the communities we serve across West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, Mid Sussex and East Sussex.
If you do not live in any of these areas but have been a patient or carer at one of our three hospitals since January 2008, you can become a patient member instead. All employees of the trust automatically become staff members.
How do I become a member? And is it free to join?
Joining is quick and easy – and absolutely free!
Just fill out the application form online or download a copy to print, complete and post back to us free of charge.
What happens after joining?
Once you have become a member you will receive a letter welcoming you to the trust and be able to get involved in our membership activities, receive our members newsletter, attend meetings and events, and access the NHS Discounts benefits scheme.
Members’ details are held confidentially by the trust and will never be shared with other organisations or companies.
What is the Council of Governors?
Governors are appointed for a period of up to three years and all members are eligible to stand for election to the Council.
How do I contact or raise an issue with a governor?
You can contact your governor by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I become a governor?
All members are eligible to stand for election to the Council of Governors.
If you are interested in standing, we can send you an information pack explaining more about the role and the election process. We also hold briefing sessions for prospective governors to enable you to ask questions and discuss these opportunities in person.
For a prospective governor’s information pack please email email@example.com or telephone 01243 831888
How do I contact the membership office?
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone 01243 831888
- Write to:
Foundation Trust Membership Office
Corporate Governance Team
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust