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Our Foundation Trust public consultation ended 14 May, thank you for your input. 

 

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Our Foundation Trust public consultation has now ended, thank you for your input. 

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Richard Kirby, Chief Executive

There's less than one week to go until we reach the end of our official consultation period and I'd like to thank everyone who has played a part.

In the three months since we started sharing our plans with you, we've reached more than a thousand of people and met with hundreds who've had the chance to have their say on what Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust will look like when it becomes a Foundation Trust.

The Foundation Trust Communications team has been out and about recording feedback at our public, staff and partner meetings and processing completed questionnaires.

If you haven't responded yet the please do.

Did you know…?

Since we kicked off the consultation process on February 14th we have:

● Met with 790 staff;

● Been to 47 partner and public meetings;

● Received 438 completed questionnaires;

● Launched three podcasts that have been accessed by hundreds of people online;

● Distributed more than 13,000 consultation documents to our membership base and the general public;

● Plus we've reached 565 'followers' through the Foundation Trust blogs, on Facebook and on Twitter.  

The right time

It may seem like a long process - in fact we started talking about becoming a Foundation Trust more than five years ago - but the criteria for becoming a Foundation Trust is extremely strict. We waited until the time was right for us, as a new integrated organisation, to concentrate on taking the next steps in the process.

We'll keep you updated on how our bid is progressing through this website and the local media.

There's still time

Tonight is the last of our public meetings, and we'll be visiting Sandwell to get the views of people there.

Wednesday 9th May, 3pm and 6pm at The Public, New Street, West Bromwich, B70 7PG.

As with all our public meetings, we are going to be joined by our team of health trainers who'll be running a variety of free health tests as well as giving advice. These sessions will run at the end of the afternoon meeting and before the evening meeting.

Our online questionnaire will be available on our website until Monday May 14th and until then you can still give your views to the Foundation Trust communications team on 01922 656513 (9am-5pm weekdays) or by emailing foundation.trust@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk.

So it just leaves me to say once again a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has joined our journey to become a Foundation Trust. I am very much looking forward to sharing the good news with you all next year, when we are granted Foundation Trust status.

 


Wednesday 2nd May 2012

So much has happened during our official Foundation Trust consultation process that it is hard to believe there are less than two weeks to go.

Our work touches so many lives and we have been privileged to meet and hear from so many people who wanted to be involved in our plans for the future.

We feel strongly that Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is very much rooted in the communities we serve and I am delighted to say that you all clearly feel just as passionate about the work we do. We really appreciate people taking the time out from their busy lives to get involved.

What's next?

As you can imagine, our work won't end when the consultation period finishes on May 14. 

Firstly we'll be bringing together and discussing all of your thoughts, views and comments. We'll be looking in detail at how this feedback affects the proposals we have put forward.

Once the feedback is assessed and our plans updated, we can formally apply to the Secretary of State for support. When this is granted we are assessed by Monitor, the independent body that approves and regulates Foundation Trusts.

Part of the assessment will involve our appointed Monitor Assessment Team spending around six weeks with the Trust. They will undertake analysis of our plans, our current working patterns and our consultation process. They'll also be speaking to staff right across the Trust.

We won't know the outcome of our bid until sometime in 2013. We can't be more specific than that, as this is, rightly so, a long complex procedure.  This is also a busy period for Monitor as many Trusts are completing their applications around this time.

This consultation period has been a vital part of that process. Not only does it inform our future plans but our eligibility for Foundation Trust status is dependent on whether we have been thorough in seeking, collecting and listening to feedback.

Have you had your say yet?

Next week is the last of our public meetings around the region. We'll be visiting Sandwell to get the views of people there.

Wednesday 9th May, 3pm and 6pm at The Public, New Street, West Bromwich, B70 7PG.

We'll be joined by our team of health trainers who'll be on hand to run a variety of free health tests as well as giving advice. Subject to the availability of our busy teams, checks will include cholesterol levels for the over 40s, blood pressure and Body Mass Index as well as helpful advice on giving up smoking and fitness demonstrations.

You can catch these sessions at the end of the afternoon meetings and the beginning of each evening meeting.

Alternatively you can fill out our questionnaire on line or contact the Foundation Trust communications team on 01922 656513 (9am-5pm weekdays), email foundation.trust@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk.

Please remember, your views really do count. Help shape the future of healthcare in Walsall - there's less than two weeks left to have your say.



Wednesday 25 April 2012 

Throughout our official Foundation Trust consultation process we've talked about involving the people who matter to us most.

In my blogs I've talked at length about how we are seeking the views of the people that we serve: our patients, carers and the general public. I've also talked about the importance of our staff and how we value their views.

But there is one group I haven't really discussed yet and that's our partners: the organisations that help us deliver seamless, integrated care right across the region.

Our partners

We are proposing that when we become a Foundation Trust our partners - NHS Walsall, NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group, Walsall Council and the University of Wolverhampton - will be invited to sit on our Council of Governors.

These four Stakeholder Governors will be nominated rather than elected but the principal of their involvement is exactly the same as for our elected public and staff Governors.

They will have the same vital role to play as other 21 Governors. They will represent the views of their organisations rather than constituencies but the principle will be the same. To see a detailed breakdown of the role of the Governors click here; a diagram showing what the Council of Governors will look like can be foundhere.

We already work closely together with these partner groups and are positive that the new, stronger ties we are proposing will strengthen our relationships and help us achieve our vision for the future.

Meet our stakeholders

So, who are our proposed Stakeholder Governors?

Walsall Council serves almost 226,000 people; approximately 80 per cent of patients referred by their GP to the Trust live within the Borough of Walsall.

The local authority is committed to serving its communities by ensuring the health and wellbeing of the people of Walsall and we work together to provide integrated care for and wide range of services for older people, children and other vulnerable groups.

The University of Wolverhampton prides itself on providing an 'entrepreneurial education'. Together we have been developing pioneering partnerships to ensure that students are getting an education that results in real jobs and long-term careers within the NHS. This approach not only provides rewarding careers but meets the needs of the patients the students will come to serve.

Our next two stakeholder groups are both commissioning groups: they are the people who hold the budgets and buy hospital and community services from us.

The Health and Social Care Act, also known as the NHS Reform Bill, proposes to change the way in which health services are commissioned. In light of this we fully expect that we will need to look again at the commissioning groups represented on our Council of Governors to ensure it accurately reflects the new structure of the NHS.

NHS Walsall is our existing local primary care trust; they focus on improving the health of people living and working in Walsall. They currently commission - or buy - services from us. Under the new plans they will not exist in their current form from 2013 and so we will need to look again at the structure of our Council of Governors, when we know more.

The newly formed NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group brings together GPs from across the borough. We are working together to deliver the range and quality of healthcare that local people need, including integrated pathways with the care and services provided in GP surgeries.

I hope this brief overview has given you an insight into how the Trust works with partner organisations today as well as how we plan to work together in the future.

Don't forget, if you have any comments or questions on our proposals we really want to hear from you.  You can contact us in a variety of ways. Either fill out our questionnaire online or contact the Foundation Trust team on 01922 656513 (9am-5pm weekdays), email foundation.trust@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk


Wednesday 18 April 2012

Welcome to my Foundation Trust blog. In this, my tenth blog, I'd like to ask for your help.

As you are reading this online, I'm hoping you've also taken the opportunity to look at the other Foundation Trust materials that are on our website.

All the information you need is here. There are podcasts, the full consultation document and the online questionnaire so you can have your say.

But not everyone has access to the internet and many people who do, prefer to get their information in person. This is where you could help us spread the word.

In the next week we're holding public meetings in three of our proposed public constituencies: South Staffordshire, Walsall South and Aldridge and Brownhills.

Do you know someone who would like to hear more? Perhaps you would like to come along and speak, in person, to the team behind the Foundation Trust bid.

We really want to hear what you think of our services and how we develop them in the future.

Attend a meeting

There are two meetings - one in the afternoon and the other in the evening - in each location.

Friday 20th April, 3pm and 6pm at Avon Business and Leisure Centre, Avon Road, Cannock, WS11 1LH

Monday 23rd April, 3pm and 6pm at The Crossing, St Paul's Church, Darwell Street, WS1 1DA

Wednesday 25th April, 3pm and 6pm at Aldridge Masonic Centre, The Green

Aldridge, WS9 8NH

If it is easier to attend our meeting in Sandwell, then you only need to wait a couple more weeks:  

Wednesday 9th May, 3pm and 6pm at The Public, New Street, West Bromwich, B70 7PG.

We really appreciate people taking the time to join in the discussion so we've also asked along our team of health trainers. They'll be on hand to run a variety of free health tests as well as giving advice.

Subject to the availability of our busy teams, checks will include cholesterol levels for the over 40s, blood pressure and Body Mass Index as well as helpful advice on giving up smoking and fitness demonstrations.

You can catch these sessions at the end of the afternoon meetings and the beginning of each evening meeting.

Spread the word

Our three month consultation period is a real chance for everyone to join the discussion and shape our future; whether that's 'in person' at one of these meetings or 'virtually' by filling out our online questionnaire.

We really want you to help us understand how we can develop our services in the future. A key aspect of being a Foundation Trust is being accountable to the people we serve - this consultation is the first step in opening up that dialogue.

We hope that you can find all the information you need about our Foundation Trust bid on the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust website. If you know anyone who hasn't had the opportunity to hear more about our plans we'd really appreciate your help in encouraging them to get involved.  By spreading the word, you'll be helping us to help the people we serve.


Wednesday 11 April 2012

Being a Governor won't be for everyone. I'm sure all our elected Governors will want to make a difference and be passionate about healthcare but the role will also require time and a level of commitment that many people won't be able to give.

But that doesn't mean that our proposed new structure, and our plans for a Council of Governors, doesn't affect every single person whose life is - or will be - touched by the work we do at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

The new structure will introduce a level of accountability that we haven't seen before. Our members - both staff and public - will choose the person they want to represent them in independently monitored elections.

The elected representative will take their place on the Council of Governors and have a direct influence on Trust strategy and direction.

Effective representation

Governors are there to represent the views of the members in their constituency and feedback to them on the work they do. In a recent survey carried out for Monitor, the independent body responsible for appointing and regulating Foundation Trusts, FT's said that 80 per cent of Governors were effective in representing the views of their community.

All Foundations Trusts took part in the survey conducted by Electoral Reform Services Research and first published in 2011.  Almost all Trusts questioned said that Governors had had a real impact on how the organisation communicated with patients and public; around 90 per cent said Governors had influenced forward business planning and approximately 80 per cent had affected a change in existing services.

The findings clearly demonstrate how, thanks to member and Governor input, Foundation Trusts across the country have been able to target funds into new initiatives in areas that may otherwise have been overlooked.

The advantages of this system are not one sided: each Foundation Trust gets a new angle on how their services are being used and how they can be improved. There's also the opportunity to hear fresh ideas generated by the people with first-hand experience of the service, be that patients or staff.

 

Making a difference

There are currently more than 140 Foundation Trusts across the country with stories to tell on how Governors and members have made a difference. Patient experience initiatives, annual planning and communications, even building design and recruitment, have been directly influenced by the work that Governors do.

Please take the time to read through how we propose Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust will look in the future (click here for our full consultation document). Remember, you don't need to be a Governor to get involved, but you will need to be a member, details on how to enrol are available here.

Our vision is to provide first class, integrated health services for the people we serve in the right place at the right time. I have no doubt that together we can make that vision a reality.

 


Wednesday 04 April 2012

'An engaged and empowered workforce' - we've made that one of our six priorities for the future.

Together our 3,500 members of staff, in whatever role they do, contribute to 'creating a first class patient experience'.  That's another of our priorities, and arguably the most important.

To deliver our goals we rely on a high performing workforce, delivering high quality services. We are already focusing on areas such as communication, learning and development and IT infrastructure to help people do the best job they can do.

Foundation Trust status, in particular our proposed Council of Governors, will offer a formalised structure where staff representatives can have a say on how the Trust operates day-to-day.

 

Staff Governors

Staff  Governors will be joined by Governors voted for and representing public constituencies and stakeholders.  We think that seven of our 25 Governors should be staff and they should be drawn from the following areas:

  • One Governor representing medical practitioners and registered dentists;
  • Two Governors representing registered nurses, registered midwives, health visitors, and health care assistants (community based).
  • Two Governors representing registered nurses, registered midwives and health care assistants (hospital based);
  • One Governor representing technical/scientific and therapeutic;
  • One Governor representing administrative, clerical and managerial.

The designated numbers of Governors reflect the relative numbers of staff in the different areas. Each of these Governors will be elected by the members of staff they represent.

You can take a look in more detail at what we're proposing by clicking here.

We appreciate that not everyone will want to get involved at this level but we do want to give everyone a choice. That way, whether they are an 'active' member or not, they know that the support and structure is there should they need it or wish to use it.

We propose that each member of staff will be automatically enrolled as a member of the new Foundation Trust but they will easily be able to opt-out if they wish.

(This process is different for the general public, who need to opt-in to becoming a member. All the details on how you can do this are available by clicking here.)

 

Every step of the way

Our staff will be involved in every step of the consultation and assessment process.

After we've gathered feedback - from the public and our partners as well as staff - our final proposal will be sent to Monitor, the body that grants and regulates Foundation Trusts. They will then assign us an Assessment Team who will visit the Trust for six weeks and speak to staff in the community and at Walsall Manor Hospital.

They'll ask about our plans and the consultation process. There won't be any right or wrong answers, and they're not checking that everyone agrees with our proposals, but they want to be sure that everyone is aware of our plans and had adequate opportunity to give their views.

I'm confident we will be granted Foundation Trust status sometime in 2013. So it won't be long before our staff aren't just delivering our services, they're playing an important role in shaping the future of health care in Walsall.


Wednesday 21 March 2012

Tomorrow is a big day for us. It is the first of our public consultation meetings and I'm really looking forward to hearing what people have to say about our plans to become a Foundation Trust.

Why not come and join us at Blakenhall Village Centre at either 3pm or 6pm tomorrow, Thursday March 22nd?

It's been a busy six weeks since we launched our consultation period: we've been speaking to our staff, partners, stakeholders and our established membership network. So far we've met with 427 members of staff and 192 people externally.

It has been great to share our plans face to face and hear what people have to say about our proposals.  I'm pleased to say that people feel as passionately about the future of the Trust as I do.


For One & All

We have already learnt so much from speaking to our patients. Last year we launched our For One & All: Improving Your Experience programme to help us deliver our number one organisational priority - to make every patient's experience the best it can be.

As part of this ongoing project we were privileged to hear individual stories from over 100 people during, what we called, 'In Your Shoes' sessions. During these sessions we were humbled to hear about some wonderful examples of care, but also chastened to hear other stories about care that had not been of a standard we aim to provide.

Thanks to these sessions and our conversations with staff we developed and drafted a set of promises. You can see the full details by clicking here but, put simply:

At Walsall Healthcare we promise to do our best to make you feel: welcomed, cared for and in safe hands.

At Walsall Healthcare we promise to do our best to ensure the people we work with feel: appreciated, part of one team and helped to meet our high standards.

You will see from our questionnaire that we are looking for feedback on how our structure will change when we become a Foundation Trust. We also want your thoughts on something that is, in a way, much more fundamental to who we are and how we deliver as an organisation:  our vision, our promises and our priorities.


Help us to help you

These promises are the building blocks for the future of the Trust. They were devised in consultation with the people who matter to us most and now we want to hear from you again.

You can contact us in a variety of ways. Either fill out our questionnaire on line or contact the Foundation Trust communications team on 01922 656513 (9am-5pm weekdays), emailfoundation.trust@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk.

Tomorrow marks the start of a series of public meetings around the region.  If you can't make Blakenhall Village Centre, there are eight more meetings coming up - full details are available here.  At each we'll also be joined by our team of health trainers who will be on hand running a variety of health tests and giving advice.

You really can help us to achieve our vision of providing first class, integrated health services for the people we serve in the right place at the right time. I look forward to seeing you over the coming weeks.

 


Wednesday 14 March 2012

The NHS is always making headlines.

And quite rightly so: the NHS matters to each and every person.

There is much discussion at the moment about proposals to change some aspects of how the NHS is organised but that won't affect our bid for Foundation Trust status.

Foundation Trust status isn't a new concept but a firmly established part of the NHS structure. Foundation Trusts were created in 2004 and there are now more than 140 across the country; national policy states that every Trust will become a Foundation Trust.


Assuring our future

That said you should not underestimate the importance of Foundation Trust status for us.  The success of this bidding process will help assure our future as an independent Trust.

The Government has stated that all Trusts will become Foundation Trusts by 2014 - after that date, for those who have been unable to become a Foundation Trust different arrangements will be made including working in partnership with another organisation that has achieved Foundation Trust status.

We are looking to become a Foundation Trust independently because our independence makes us who we are: a Trust that is firmly rooted in the communities we serve.

We don't want this to change. In fact, by securing Foundation Trust status we will formalise our links to the people who matter most to the Trust - our patients, service users, carers, staff and partners.

I've already talked at length about our new structure so I won't go into detail again here. You can learn more about how our new structure will look and how we propose our members and Governors will play their part byclicking here and reading our consultation document.


Remaining independent

The decision has already been taken by the Trust to become an Foundation Trust; the Strategic Health Authority has agreed that we can move to formal public consultation and the long process has started. This consultation period is looking for opinions on how we would look as a Foundation Trust, rather than if we should become one.

Many may remember that several years ago the previous, Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust began the process for becoming a Foundation Trust. We withdrew our application as the decision was taken to focus our efforts on the redevelopment of the new hospital and the integration of hospital and community services.  

Today as we take this step, we do so as a larger, integrated organisation. Where possible, we are already running our Trust in line with the Foundation Trust model - and we are financially robust - so we are confident in becoming a Foundation Trust.

We believe that what's best for the Trust - and all the people it employs and serves - is that it remains independent.  Join us to find out more and give your views - there are so many ways you can do it, details of our public meetings, full consultation document and questionnaire are all online or you can speak to one of the team direct (click here for contact details).

Together we can assure the future of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

 


Wednesday 7 March 2012

Research has shown that treatments are more effective if patients choose, understand and control their care.

That's why when your GP refers you to a specialist healthcare team - either as an inpatient or outpatient - you have a choice of where you will be seen.

Lots of factors will effect how you make that choice - how easy it is to get to the hospital or clinic is a big factor for many people but it isn't the only one. Specialist services, reputation and the advice of the GP also play a major role when patients make that decision.

At the moment around 20 per cent of our patients, referred in this way by a GP, come from outside the borough of Walsall.

When we become a Foundation Trust we want to involve all the people who care most about how we deliver our services. And now more than ever, our patients are coming from farther afield.


Growing our healthcare community

The 226,000 residents in the Borough of Walsall are at the heart of the communities we serve but we want to welcome more people to our ever growing healthcare community.

When we become a Foundation Trust, membership will form part of our new organisational structure (take a closer look at our proposals by clicking here). This new way of working will ensure we have a formalised, open dialogue with the public as well as staff and stakeholder groups.

Members will elect a Governor to represent them; to sit on the Council of Governors and advise the Board of Directors (who is responsible for the setting and delivery of the Trust's strategy).

If you take a look our proposed Public Governor constituencies (click here to see a map) you can see that we're inviting people from outside the borough to have their say.


Spreading the word

Monitor, the organisation who appoints and regulates Foundation Trusts, has very strict guidelines on how we gather our feedback during our consultation period. We must ensure that everyone who cares about our Trust has the opportunity to make their voice heard.

That's why we've organised public meetings right across the region (click here)

and taken advertisements in local newspapers. We believe there are lots of people who will want to play their part and it is vital we give them the opportunity to do so.

 


Wednesday 29 February 2012

Becoming a Foundation Trust will mean huge changes - and opportunities - for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

During this three month consultation period we're sharing our plans for the future.

Our full plans are here on the website (click here to go to the full consultation document) and we have already been speaking to staff and our partners about our proposals.

On the road

From next month we will be taking our proposals 'out on the road' with a series of public meetings across the area.

There are afternoon and evening meetings across the region so we hope you will be able to find the time to join us, discover more and have your say.

We'll also hope to be joined by our team of health trainers who will be on hand running a variety of free health tests cholesterol levels for the over 40s, blood pressure and Body Mass Index, as well as helpful advice on giving up smoking and fitness demonstrations.

We have planned afternoon and evening meetings to hopefully get as many people as possible.  You can take advantage of these health checks and advice at the end of the afternoon meetings and the beginning of each evening meeting.


The dates, times and venues are:

Thursday 22nd March, 3pm and 6pm at Blakenall Village Centre, Thames Road, Blakenhall, Walsall, WS3 1LZ

Friday 20th April, 3pm and 6pm at Avon Business and Leisure Centre, Avon Road, Cannock, WS11 1LH

Monday 23rd April, 3pm and 6pm at The Crossing, St Paul's Church, Darwell Street, WS1 1DA

Wednesday 25th April, 3pm and 6pm at The Masonic Centre, The Green Aldridge, WS9 8NH

Wednesday 9th May, 3pm and 6pm at The Public, New Street, West Bromwich, B70 7PG.


Have your say

Each public consultation meeting will be attended by members of the senior team at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. We'll be able to answer any questions you have and give you any more information you need.

We'll also be recording all your comments and queries about our proposed plans. These plans are not yet set in stone so this is your chance to get your voice heard.

Your feedback really is vital. We follow very strict guidelines when we enter our consultation period and it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone who cares about the future of the Trust understands our plans and has the chance to make their views heard.

In May, at the end of this consultation period, we will gather all that information and look again at our plans for the future.  Both our bid and your feedback are stringently assessed by Monitor, the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts.  We will also publish the outcome of the consultation and how we used this feedback.

We hope to be granted Foundation Trust status during 2013; your comments will have an impact on how your Trust will look in the very near future.

Come along and tell us what you think, we're looking forward to meeting you.

 


Wednesday 22 February, 2012 - Joining in

Have you or your family used one of our community health services or been an inpatient at the hospital? Do you work for the Trust? Or know someone who does?

Just imagine how many people in the Walsall area will be answering 'yes'.

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust plays a huge part in the community of Walsall and we take that very seriously.

We see 900,000 patients a year and we're the second largest employer in the area after Walsall Council.

That's why we want the people of Walsall - and beyond - to play a very real role in our future: by becoming members.


You're not alone

Membership forms the backbone of Foundation Trusts, not just in our plans for the future (click here to see our FT proposals in full) but in the future of the NHS.

The model for Foundation Trusts, which were first established in 2004, was heavily influenced by the concept of 'mutual' organisations - co-operative groups and building societies in particular. This model gives members a greater say in how their organisation is run. It is estimated that more than two million people in England have registered to become a member of a Trust.

This number will continue to grow as, by 2014, all Trusts will be required to attain FT status or become part of an existing Foundation Trust.

Now we may be in the early stages of our journey to Foundation Trust status but this is where we are already one step ahead: we already have a membership base in excess of 13,000.

Already, we have 13,000 invaluable links to our patients, carers, staff and community groups; and with Foundation Trust status we'll have the structures to ensure we're listening to the people who matter to us most. Our membership is already at the level of the average NHS Foundation Trust but we would still welcome more people who want to join us.


Play your part

Once we become a Foundation Trust, membership will be part of the official structure of the Trust. Members' views will influence how we spend our money, run our services and operate on a day to day basis.  

A recent survey by Monitor - the independent body that appoints and then regulates them - showed within just a few years of Foundation Trusts being introduced, more than 50 per cent report that members have influenced a range of areas including the development of new services.

And 83 per cent of Foundation Trusts say members have influenced communication with patients and the wider public.

All the details of how membership will work once we become an FT, how you can have your say on our plans and how to become a member, are at the bottom of this page.

Take a closer look at our plans, make your views heard and join us on our journey to become a Foundation Trust.

 


Wednesday 15 February, 2012

It is with great pleasure that I announce our proposals to make Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust a Foundation Trust.

From today, Wednesday 15th February, we begin a three month consultation process. This is where we publish our plans for the future and ask you to tell us what you think.

We've set ourselves an ambitious vision to provide first class, integrated care for the people we serve, in the right place, at the right time. We don't always get things right but we believe we're on our way to making that vision a reality. Being a Foundation Trust will help us do just that.

Quite rightly, the application process is an intensive one. We have discussed and honed our proposals, which are being backed by the Strategic Health Authority.

Helping us to help you

Now we need you to help us: take a closer look at our proposals tell us what you think.

Our staff and existing members will be receiving our outline proposals in the next few days. There will be copies of our document 'The Next Steps: Foundation Trust Consultation Document In Brief' in patient waiting rooms and venues across Walsall.  There's also links at the top of this page to the full consultation document and online questionnaire.

Want to find out more and give us your views? Come along to one of our public meetings, there's a link here to dates and venues.  There's also information on this page about how you can contact our Foundation Trust communications team by email, phone or post.

Once we've heard everyone's views, and collected the feedback we can do more to help you. We will look again at our proposals and discuss how we can make sure the new Foundation Trust best suits the needs of the people who know us best.

This process is at the very core of what being a Foundation Trust is all about. In fact, Monitor - the independent organisation that appoints and then regulates them - will check that we have conducted this consultation process correctly and ensured our plans have reached as many people as possible.

What next?

Once the feedback is assessed and our plans updated we formally apply to the Secretary of State for Health for support. Once this is granted we are assessed by Monitor; part of this assessment will involve our appointed Monitor Assessment Team spending some time at the Trust to conduct interviews and analysis.

These three months are crucial to us, and the role you play is vital. We are taking the next steps on the journey together: welcome along!