Foundation trusts have been urged to be “honest” with the public about weaknesses in their quality reports and accounts.

Foundation Trust Network director Sue Slipman, speaking at the NHS Confederation conference as the organisations prepare to publish their first quality reports, said there were “risks” in being open about where they are performing badly.

‘They will trust you if they see improvement over time’

But she said: “If what you are saying is, ‘We know we are not so good at this, and here is how we are going to improve.’

“They will trust you if they see improvement over time.”

Monitor has required all foundations to publish quality reports, a forerunner for quality accounts, with their 2008-09 annual reports.

Foundations were urged to influence the government as it decides how and what will have to be reported in the accounts. The foundation network and Monitor want the accounts’ main purpose to be to focus boards on quality and engaging with the public.

But the Department of Health has not set out detailed regulations.

Monitor policy director Jonathan Marron said the DH had asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to consult on them and would publish details in November.

He urged foundations to respond to shape the policy.

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