The Department’s consideration of applications for foundation trust status is about reviewing an organisation's readiness for proceeding to the final stage of assessment. This final stage of applying to become a foundation trust is a detailed assessment undertaken by the independent regulator of foundation trusts in accordance with the relevant legislation.
When the Department considered the application from Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust (now Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust) for foundation trust status, assurance was gained on the quality of care being provided via analysis of the trusts performance against key national standards. This included assessment against accident and emergency and hospital waiting time standards as well as the consideration of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile rates at the organisation. The Department’s review did not include an explicit review of hospital standardised mortality rates.
The Department’s assessment processes have since evolved and now include an explicit consideration of hospital standardised mortality rates, alongside other care quality indicators such as patient surveys and safety indicators. Since April 2009 the Department’s assessment has also included the consideration of each application by the NHS Medical Director, whose support is required prior to an application being able to proceed to Monitor for assessment to foundation trust status. The NHS Medical Director considers a range of quality related intelligence, including hospital standardised mortality rates, in forming their view on each trust.