The Forum will be chaired by Dr Mark Newbold, chief executive of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. It will strengthen the impact that acute provider trusts and foundation trusts - over 90 per cent of which are NHS Confederation members - have in informing the organisation's work and influencing Government policy.
The Hospitals Forum will work on behalf of all types of hospital, integrated hospital and community service providers to help shape the policy and politics that affect them. It will work with its members to identify the innovative work being done by hospitals around the country and help NHS organisations learn from each other to deliver the highest standards of care for patients.
The work of the forum will be shaped by its members, and through a steering group of high profile service leaders, who have identified four priority areas to initially focus on.
The Hospitals Forum is currently working with some of the NHS’s most financially challenged acute trusts to gain an in-depth understanding of the scale of the challenge they face, and speak on their behalf about what issues need to be addressed to help them tackle their problems.
- Delivering major service change
Many NHS organisations need to change where and how services are delivered so patients have access to the safest care. The Hospitals Forum will advocate where changes needs to happen to allow the NHS to respond to the long-term pressures it faces, and will work across the system to support them to make this a reality.
- Exploring new models of provision
The Hospitals Forum will bring together a number of pioneering hospital ventures from inside the NHS and from international experience to consider how the sector as a whole can fundamentally change their service and business models to make them fit for the future and responsive to patient needs.
- Maintaining focus on improving the quality of patient care
The Hospitals Forum will work alongside the Commission on Dignity in Care, in partnership with Age UK and the Local Government Association, to help hospitals and care homes put its recommendations for improving patient experience into practice. The Forum will also maintain a strong focus on the issue of quality in the run up to and following on from the recommendations of the Francis Inquiry.
Dr Mark Newbold, chief executive of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, and chair of the NHS Confederation’s Hospitals Forum, said:
“The hospital sector is facing some really big challenges in the years ahead, not least improving the quality of care for patients while trying to find unprecedented savings. There are many hospitals providing great care around the country. But the pressures on them are growing and we need to look at how we can change services to best respond to people's needs.
"Now more than ever, the NHS Confederation needs to speak up about these issues on behalf of its members. It needs to provide a space where people can come together to tackle the really big issues facing the hospital sector.
"We want to use this forum to bring together organisations from across the whole health system to trigger the necessary debate with politicians, the public and those in the health service about why we need to change the way we provide and deliver care to our patients in the future.
"We hope it will allow us to establish a collaborative, intelligent approach to the areas of work we have identified as priorities for our members."
Mike Farrar, NHS Confederation chief executive, said:
“Hospitals play a vital role in the NHS. But that role is changing as technology evolves, and the needs of patients and the way we care for them change.
“We need to make sure our members involved in the provision or commissioning of hospital based services are set up to respond to demand.
“We need to strengthen the hospital voice within the NHS Confederation, and work with others on the national stage to highlight the pressures our members face.
“The NHS Confederation Hospitals Forum will bring together leaders from around the country, alongside all the other parts of the NHS, to discuss and debate our issues and challenges, and how we respond to them."