The Foundation Trust Network has drawn up plans to leave the NHS Confederation, prompting opposition within the organisation, HSJ has learned.

News of the planned split has emerged alongside that of the suspension of FTN chair Sue Slipman.

An NHS Confederation spokesperson said: “Sue Slipman, director of the FT Network, has been suspended.

“The issues leading to the suspension will now be the subject of an investigation to be conducted by an independent person.

“Suspension is a neutral act pending the outcome of an investigation.”

HSJ has been told Ms Slipman and other FTN board members had actively discussed splitting from the NHS Confederation in board meetings. It is not clear whether the proposed split is related to Ms Slipman’s suspension.

In a statement to HSJ, NHS Confederation acting chief executive Nigel Edwards said: “The FTN board has discussed becoming a separate standalone organisation.

“We are concerned that this proposal runs counter to the views of the many chairs and chief executives who have been speaking to us over the last few months about how the NHS needs to respond to the difficult financial and reform environment it faces. 

“They tell us this is just the time when a collective voice for the service is required.  They recognise that the NHS Confederation is the only place where the whole system can come together, and this will be crucial in the next few years.”

An NHS Confederation source told HSJ the FTN split proposal had been fiercely opposed within the Confed.

The organisation is currently reviewing its structure in response to changes set out in the health white paper. As part of this review, the Confed is in talks with the Royal College of GPs over a potential joint venture to support GP commissioners.

The final structure of the Confed is due to be decided on 1 November.

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Foundation Trust Network considers Confed split as director suspended