Members and Governors: FAQ

What is an NHS Foundation Trust?

Please see What it means to be an NHS Foundation Trust.

Under NHS Foundation Trust status, are we able to pick what services you provide?

NHS Foundation Trust status means we will continue to provide NHS services to NHS patients.

We have a legal responsibility that essential services are still available.

GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) commission services from us on behalf of their patients and it is the CCG's responsibility to ensure that the local patient population has access to essential services.

If we have services that are not clinically or financially viable, then they could be withdrawn, but this would not be done without the agreement of at least three quarters of the Council of Governors, and then only after consultation with and permission from NHS Improvement.

What is a PFI (Private Finance Initiative)?

A contractual agreement between an NHS trust and a private organisation to build and maintain new hospital buildings.

In Swindon, the PFI agreement is between the Trust and the Hospital Company.

What are the minimum and maximum ages for Members and Governors?

The minimum age is 12 years for Members and 18 years for Governors; there is no maximum age.

Is there a charge for becoming a Member?

No.

Who can become a Member?

  • Staff of our partner organisations who work with us, on our hospital sites
  • Anyone who is aged 12 years or over and lives in one of our constituency areas
  • Our staff are automatically members unless they choose not to be

What role would I play as a Member?

  • You will be consulted about our plans for future healthcare services and hospital facilities
  • You will receive regular communications from the Trust about its activities
  • You will be invited to events including monthly health talks
  • You are eligible to vote in elections for the Council of Governors
  • You are eligible to stand for election as a Governor

What does becoming a Member involve?

Passive membership

  • Receives regular Members' Bulletins and keeps up to date with activities
  • Takes part in elections for Governors (unless you advise us otherwise)

Active membership

  • Receives regular Members' Bulletins and keeps up to date with activities
  • Participates in members' events
  • Promotes the benefits of being a member within the broader community
  • Takes part in elections for Governors
  • Stand for election as a Governor
  • Represents the interests and views of members
  • Promotes the work of the Trust across the community to help continue to raise awareness of services and performance, helping to influence patients when making hospital choices

As part of the Council of Governors

  • Holds the Non-Executive Directors, individually and collectively, to account for the performance of the Board of Directors
  • Approves or removes the appointment of the Trust Chief Executive
  • Appoints or removes Chair and Non-Executive Directors
  • Be consulted on plans for significant service development
  • Appoints Trust auditors
  • Receives annual accounts at an Annual Members' Meeting

How can I become a Governor?

Members can stand as a Governor and can be elected by fellow members from the constituency in which they live or staff category in which they work.

How many Governors are there?

There are 24 elected and appointed Governors - please see Governors.

How does the Council of Governors work?

Our Trust is committed to supporting communication between members of the Trust and their Governors.

We facilitate this through the Governance office in the first instance.

The Governance office also supports Governors' communication with the membership using the in-house magazine, Members Matters.

What commitment is needed to be a Governor?

The Trust holds six meetings of the Council of Governors each year.

As a Governor, you will be expected to attend these meetings, which are also open to Members and the general public.

We will set the dates of meetings for the year ahead, and circulate this information widely through the Trust website and newsletter publications to Members.

Governors are also asked to serve on sub-committees of the Council that meet between four and six times each year.

Are Governors paid?

No, they do not receive payment, but reasonable travelling and other expenses are paid.

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