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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

What are foundation trusts?

NHS foundation trusts are not-for-profit, public benefit corporations. They are part of the NHS and provide over half of all NHS hospital, mental health and ambulance services.

NHS foundation trusts were created to devolve decision making from central government to local organisations and communities. They provide and develop healthcare according to core NHS principles - free care, based on need and not ability to pay.

What makes NHS foundation trusts different from NHS trusts?

As foundation trust we are not directed by Government so have greater freedom to decide, with our governors and members, our own strategy and the way services are run.

We can also retain our financial surpluses and borrow to invest in new and improved services for patients and service users.  This enables us to invest directly in the care of our patients.

As a trust we are accountable to:

  • our local communities through our members and governors

  • our commissioners who contract our services on behalf of the community

  • Parliament (every foundation trust must lay its annual report and accounts before Parliament)

  • the Care Quality Commission (through the legal requirement to register and meet the associated standards for the quality of care provided); and

  • NHS England/Improvement, as our regulator.


Most importantly, as a foundation trust we can be more responsive to the needs and wishes of our local communities. One way that we achieve this is by recruiting trust members who are represented by governors. Members of the trust elect the board of governors to represent their views. Governors then work with the Trust's board of directors to agree the future plans of the organisation, which take into account the needs and wishes of the local community. Governors also have the right to appoint the trust's chairperson and non-executive directors. 

It's free to become a member of our trust, and with it comes a whole host of benefits. To find out more visit our member pages.

If you would like to know more about the governors in our trust, visit the meet our governors page.

For more information about foundation trusts, click on the links below:

Department of Heath - NHS Foundation Trusts