The NHS Confederation and Foundation Trust Network have reached an agreement on how to make the roles of the two organisations clear to avoid duplicating work.

The agreement formally sets out an understanding that the FTN represents the specific interests of all NHS foundation trusts and trusts while the confederation works across the health sector to bring together the different interests across the NHS.

FTN chief executive Chris Hopson said: “A lot of people, both our members and the people we work with, weren’t exactly clear what the distinction between the two organisations was and what we’ve really tried to do is make that very clear.”

The FTN was originally a network inside the confederation before becoming independent in 2011.

Mr Hopson said the intention was to “make it clear that we want to work together effectively and the best way of doing that is to be clear what each organisation’s role is going to be and to make sure that we don’t duplicate or compete with each other”.

The agreement identifies areas where they can strengthen their positions by working together. The two hope to work in partnership on the urgent and emergency care pathway through a forum hosted by the NHS Confederation. Mr Hopson said the FTN would be involved by working with commissioners and primary care providers to reduce the pressure on emergency departments.

NHS Confederation chair Michael O’Higgins said: “At the heart of the arrangement is the agreement of both organisations to be mutually supportive and, between us, to offer our members the best value and benefits possible.

“The confederation will act as a confederation that spans the entire health sector and as the network that brings a range of other NHS networks together into a single place. We will remain as separate organisations but will be strongly committed to each other’s success in delivering these distinct, complementary, missions.”