Foundation Trusts and the Problem of Legitimacy

Health Care Analysis 12 (2):157-169 (2004)
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The UK government is setting up a new kind of organisation as part of the National Health Service, the foundation trust. Foundation trusts will be more distanced from government than existing NHS bodies, and will have closer community links. In this paper I identify the importance of legitimacy in health care and explore the potential situation of foundation trusts in terms of the bases of their legitimacy as organisations. Relationships with community, stakeholders and government are all considered as sources of legitimacy for foundation hospitals, and comparisons are made with other organisations, state, voluntary and private. I conclude that the blueprint of the foundation hospital creates a set of relationships which are incoherent and mutually conflicting, and conceals a crucial relationship with the state. I argue that these problems are likely to weaken the legitimacy of the foundation trust



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