HR body welcomes NHS opt-out plans

Plans to allow NHS hospitals to opt out of Government control by becoming
foundation trusts have been welcomed by the Association of Healthcare Human
Resource Management (AHHRM).

Under the Government’s plans, top-rated NHS trusts will be able to apply for
foundation status this year and eventually all NHS hospitals will have the
option of doing so.

Foundation hospitals will be able to set their own clinical and financial
priorities without interference from Whitehall.

AHHRM president Elaine Way believes foundation status will give HR
professionals in the health service greater autonomy.

"Our understanding is that all managers in foundation trusts, including
HR directors, will be much freer from central direction or guidance," she

"However, although they will be able to use these freedoms to be
innovative, they must act within the overall NHS ethos of being a good employer
and involving staff in decision making – an approach that AHHRM supports and

Way is optimistic the planned stakeholder councils – being set up to monitor
the day-to-day running of individual foundation trusts – will provide an
opportunity for increased partnership working because they will include staff

New foundation trusts will be the first to be able to implement the ‘Agenda
for Change’ pay system, which will allow them more freedom to set pay levels
relevant to their local labour market.

By Ben Willmott

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