South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust has received the go-ahead from Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, to proceed to the next stage of its Foundation Trust (FT) application.
The Trust provides mental health and learning disability services to the people of Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield and it is applying to become a Foundation Trust, a different type of NHS organisation that is based on local people becoming members and having a greater say in their local health services.
Following this support from the Secretary of State, the next stage is for the independent regulator ‘Monitor’ to consider the Trust’s proposals to change its status. If successful, ‘Monitor’ will grant authorisation in 2008 for the Trust to operate as a Foundation Trust.
Steven Michael, Chief Executive, said, "This is great news for our Trust and for local NHS services and I am delighted that our application has been supported by the Secretary of State. This in itself is a very significant achievement and reflects the hard of work of our dedicated staff, partner organisations and our members.
"So far, nearly 5000 people have joined the Trust as a member, showing support for the proposals amongst local people. We hope that this figure will continue to grow so that our membership is truly representative of local people who will then be able to have maximum influence over the development of future NHS services.
"1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year so any of us, our friends or family may need to use specialist NHS services. It’s important that local NHS services are as good as they can be so we would all feel happy using them. Getting one step closer to becoming an FT is a positive step forward in our aspirations to work with local communities to provide mental health and learning disability services that respond to local need and give people maximum influence over the development of future services."