However, foundations trusts have a ‘long way to go’ to make this happen and, despite best efforts, the public is still largely excluded from foundation trusts’ big decisions, the alliance said. The comments come in a report entitled Building new mutuals from the foundation trusts?.
The NHS Alliance recommended that public elections for NEDs on foundation trust boards, not just for the governors, could be an option.
Michael Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance, said: 'Many large co-operatives – comparable in employment numbers and financial turnover with foundation trusts – do just that.’
He added: ‘The whole ethos of public accountability and that of the Coalition’s Big Society ought to be about allowing NHS staff to lead the way whilst giving the public a voice.
‘There will be tough decisions ahead and forging a sense of public ownership among local communities will help alleviate some of the tensions such decisions will inevitably create.’