Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust has been asked to do more work on reducing waiting times and making sure it is hitting budget before it can be granted Foundation Trust status.
The trust’s plans have been put back around four to five months after it was asked to carry out further work on finance, waiting times and quality governance.
The trust had hoped to achieve FT status this year, on December 1.
In a statement, the trust’s executive lead for the FT programme, Spencer Prosser said:
“We have been asked to provide some more assurance to the Department of Health around our Foundation Trust application, and that work is well underway.
“Despite the quick progress we are making to demonstrate that we are ready to become a Foundation Trust, we anticipate that the process will now be completed next spring, rather than at the turn of the year as we had initially hoped.
“We are confident we can reassure the department that we will continue to deliver on our financial targets.
“In addition, we have already put plans in place to get waiting times down for the treatments where demand is particularly high, and we are on course to hit waiting time targets by October.
“Similarly we feel confident that we can give assurance regarding our governance arrangements, as our revised committee structure takes effect.”
For the first two months of this year the trust was over budget, but is expected to hit budget in September/October while waiting times for some areas in particular orthopaedics were higher than the trust wanted.
Once the Department of Health is happy with the application it will be sent to the independent regulator of foundation trusts, Monitor.
Monitor is expected to start assessing the application in December.
The trust also needs to recruit more members of the public to the trust as part of its application.
So far it 5,100 have signed up to be part of the trust, but it needs at least 7,000 people to register, as foundation trusts are membership organisations.
FT status means the trust will be independent from central government control, and will also have more financial freedom,. This includes being able to spend any spend surplus cash in its own services.
The idea is that the wider community is able to say how it wants services developed and money spent.
For more information about the FT application see www. westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk and to find out about being a member.