Foundation hospitals spark fear of “mutant social care”

As ten more foundation hospitals were approved last week, social
services directors warned that more safeguards were needed to
prevent them from becoming “rogue partners”, writes
Craig Kenny

Andrew Cozens, president of the Association of Directors of
Social Services, was concerned Foundation Hospitals’ greater
freedoms – including the right to “chase business” –
might lead them to develop “mutant social care”.

“We are worried that foundation hospitals would have the
capacity to develop their own variants on social care – like
step down facilities or extra care – without regard to the
wider framework of services,” he said.

“We were also keen that they should not be able to escape
from child protection. The major emphasis has been on primary care
trusts and their remit as commissioners, but we need to ensure that
all health organisations have a duty to co-operate in relation to

Cozens said he hoped that amendments to the Children Bill and a
new regulator for foundation hospitals would be able to provide
these safeguards. The health think-tank the King’s Fund is
concerned that care of people with chronic diseases might be
jeopardised by Foundation Trusts.

“There is a danger that the new system of paying
hospitals, together with their new foundation status, could work
against efforts to reduce avoidable hospitalisation,” said
chief executive Niall Dickson.

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