Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 14:24 UK

NHS trust gains foundation status

A Teesside NHS trust has been celebrating being awarded foundation status by an independent watchdog.

The South Tees NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough and Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

The new status gives the trust freedom from government control and will allow it to keep any cash surpluses to invest in new services.

Currently the trust employs more than 8,000 staff.

Chief executive Simon Pleydell said: "This is excellent news, not only for the trust and our staff, but for the local community which has clearly demonstrated support for our Foundation Trust application.

"Becoming a Foundation Trust will give us greater influence and freedom to innovate and deliver healthcare most appropriate to our local circumstances."

The news was revealed by Monitor - the independent body which regulates NHS Foundation Trusts.

It said South Tees had demonstrated "excellent performance" on the quality of services it provided.

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