The largest hospital foundation trust in Birmingham has revealed it is to be less secretive by opening up its board meetings to patients for public scrutiny.
Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust, in charge of Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope hospitals, has disclosed that its board meetings are to be held in public from September.
Birmingham Children’s Hospital is also following the same route of openness from this week, with only its second public board meeting since it became a foundation trust four years ago.
It follows calls by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley for semi-independent foundation trusts, which are accountable to overseeing body Monitor and not the Government, to allow the press and public into their decision-making board meetings.
A loophole when foundation trusts were created meant they were able to hold board meetings in private.
Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath, chairman of Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust, said: “This has been one of my pet projects, to have complete openness in how we deal with the public. It’s important for people to see how we work and it’s something that the Government is keen for us to do.
“We have also agreed to make more data readily available online. The more open we are, the more confidence people have in us.”
Joanna Davis, chairman of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, is preparing for the first board meeting today (Thursday) with a public audience at the hospital’s education centre.
Miss Davis said the move was to encourage more patients and parents to get involved in strategic decisions about the hospital.
Private board meetings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust were partly blamed on a situation where managers’ decisions were allowed to go unchecked at shamed Stafford Hospital, where at least 400 patients died unnecessarily from poor care.
* Heart of England’s board meeting will be at 10am on September 6 at Good Hope Hospital.