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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2008, 15:45 GMT
Hospitals celebrating new status
Cannock Chase Hospital
The hospitals will celebrate with salmon on the menu
Two Staffordshire hospitals are celebrating after achieving NHS foundation trust status.

Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Staffordshire and Cannock Chase hospitals, said it meant a "vast range of improvements".

The status gives the trust greater independence and freedom in managing its affairs and budget, although it is still part of the NHS.

It becomes the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust on Friday.

Staffordshire General Hospital will be known as Stafford Hospital.

Martin Yeates, the chief executive of the trust, said: "This is the healthcare equivalent of promotion to the premier league and heralds an exciting new era for our hospitals."

He said local people would have "more say than ever" in helping make improvements and achieve the best services.

Financial checks

He added: "We know that, although we have made many improvements in the services we provide to the 300,000 patients we see each year, there are times when we could do better."

He said the foundation trust (FT) status would help it deliver improvements over the next five years, including creating a 'centre of excellence' for dermatology, further development of its cardiology services and expansion to its rheumatology and orthopaedic services.

Mr Yeates added the status change followed a rigorous investigation by the FT regulator Monitor which checked the trust's financial stability.

As part of the trust's celebrations, patients will be offered salmon alongside their usual menu choices, and there will be balloons in the hospitals' receptions.

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