Responding to today's announcement of the next round of NHS trusts to be given foundation status, The King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'From now on we have to take stock - foundation hospitals need time to establish themselves and we all need to assess the impact they will have on the whole health system before any more are created.
'We agree that foundation hospitals have the potential to be more innovative and responsive. But we must ensure that the hospitals announced today, along with the first round of foundation hospitals that went live in April, are independently and robustly evaluated before the programme is extended.
'One real fear is that improving care of people with chronic diseases will be jeopardised. These patients need care that is integrated between general practice and hospitals. There is a danger that the new system of paying hospitals together with their new foundation status could work against efforts to reduce avoidable hospitalisation.
'Last week's NHS Improvement Plan showed the government is committed to helping people with chronic conditions manage their conditions more effectively in the community so they don't need hospital treatment. It would be a tragedy if the new arrangements undermined this laudable goal.'
Notes to editors:
1. For further information or interviews, please contact the King's Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585.
2. The King's Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through grants. We are a major resource to people working in health, offering leadership and education courses; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.