Under the scheme, individual hospitals can loan money from the private sector, whilst determining their own wage rates and clinical priorities. Though the scheme is only a couple of years old, it has already resulted in drastic cuts and closures. This is what the future could hold for Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge on the Wirral, plus Whiston, St Helens and Newton Community hospitals over the water.
Hewitt will now refer the change to 'Monitor' - the government's regulatory body - and expects to wave it through by the end of the year. She gushed:
"We are working hard to support as many trusts as possible to Foundation status so that all local communities can have a greater say in how their local hospital services are delivered."
But when she says 'local communities', she actually means 'corporations', as healthcare union UNISON explain at http://www.unison.org.uk/foundation/index.asp.
For more on the cancer eating away at healthcare on Merseyside, read the feature at http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/liverpool/2006/06/342448.html.