Trusts debate way to get users’ views

NHS mental health foundation trusts appear divided over how to involve service users in running trusts.

Foundation trusts are run by governing bodies elected by constituencies of members. While trusts must set up two separate constituency groups for the public and staff, a specific group for service users is only optional.

Two of the three mental health trusts given foundation status so far have chosen not to take up the option, incorporating service users within the general public constituency, and a number of the trusts applying for foundation status are proposing to do the same.

Rethink’s director of public affairs Paul Corry said the debate was about whether it was better to include service users in the public group to make sure they were not further stigmatised, or whether service users needed their own group to make sure their voices were heard.

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