STRUCTURE: Monitor has authorised Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust as a foundation trust, only the second one since April 2012.

The authorisation, which is effective from 1 July, means Western Sussex is the first acute trust in its county to be made an FT.  

Trust chief executive Marianne Griffiths said: “For the last three years there has been a rigorous examination of every single aspect of the work our staff do, and Monitor has concluded that our services are excellent, they are safe, they are efficient and they are sustainable. It is the biggest vote of confidence we could receive.”

Western Sussex, which runs St Richard’s, Worthing and Southlands hospitals, was formed under difficult performance and financial circumstances in 2009.

Since then the trust has delivered steadily improving performance, including consistently hitting waiting time targets, its A&E performance is among the top five nationally and debts have been repaid at a rate of £5m a year.

Trust chair Mike Viggers said: “It is a major achievement to become a foundation trust, but even more so when you think where this trust was just four years ago – there was the real prospect that either Worthing or St Richard’s hospital would be downgraded, and the financial situation was really tough.”

Miranda Carter, executive director of assessment at Monitor, said: “Achieving foundation trust status is a positive step for the trust, and it can now focus on using its new freedoms to continue to improve services for local people.”