The Government has announced details of five new NHS foundation trusts.
The hospitals, which are still part of the NHS, have significant managerial and financial freedom compared with other facilities.
In a written statement, health minister Ben Bradshaw said the move brings the total number of foundation trusts to 88.
The five acute or mental health NHS trusts involved are Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals; Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Partnership; Bolton, Salford and Trafford Mental Health; Tameside and Glossop and Birmingham Women’s Health Care.
Mr Bradshaw said: “The Government remains committed to offering all NHS acute and mental health trusts the opportunity to apply for foundation status as soon as practicable.”
The announcement comes as a union issued a legal challenge against Monitor, the independent regulatory body responsible for foundation trusts.
Unison is seeking a judicial review and calling on Monitor to change its rules over the amount of private work which is currently carried out in such hospitals.
Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: “Unison believes that Monitor’s interpretation of the law is wrong. As a result we think foundation trusts are likely to be under-reporting the true amount of money they receive which goes towards their private patient income cap.”
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