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
    children.”

    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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