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NHS Direct

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 13 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how NHS Direct as an NHS Foundation Trust would be accountable to local communities; (76698)

(2) whether NHS Direct as an NHS Foundation Trust would remain subject to ministerial control;

(3) whether NHS Direct as an NHS Foundation Trust would be able to outsource its call centres abroad.

We are developing plans for NHS Direct to become a national health service trust from April 2007 with the aim of becoming an NHS Foundation Trust (NHSFT) thereafter. NHS Direct is in the very early stages of considering its application for foundation trust status, including appropriate ways to ensure it can demonstrate that it is accountable to local communities, as other foundation trusts have done.

Legislative provisions establish NHSFTs as independent public benefit corporations, free from Secretary of State powers of direction.

As a NHSFT, NHS Direct will continue to plan delivery of its services in the most effective way. There are no plans to transfer its services abroad.