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Editor's blog Tuesday 12 October 2010: FT Network issues statement on NHS Confederation's suspension of Sue Slipman

Health Service Journal has obtained a statement from FT network chair Peter Griffiths in response to the NHS Confederation's suspension of FT network director Sue Slipman yesterday.

This is going to get messy, clearly.

Griffiths's statement confirms that the FT Network planned to propose to its members that "in recognition of the Governments (sic) strong support for Foundation Trusts set out in the recent white paper and the other major changes proposed there will be an even greater role for the FTN as the trade association of and voice for Foundation Trusts nationally and locally.

"We believe therefore the next and natural phase of development for the FTN is to become a fully independent body working in partnership with the NHS Confederation to develop an alliance of organisations concerned with the health and social care system in England and to collaborate on issues of mutual interest".

Going it alone for FTs in the network, basically - the aim being to become a very big brother to the few providers who want to go into community FT, social enterprise, workers' co-operative or other organisational form.

Griffiths then reports that the network had recently been informed of "an alternative proposal developed by the Confederation but not yet agreed by its trustees which includes replacing the FTN Board and establishing one controlling board for the confederation (sic) as a whole". If this proposal is ratified by the NHS Confederation's trustees, Griffiths says the network will want its members to consider both options.

As a result, the FT network had agreed with the Confederation "not to finalise a vote by FTN members on the FTN board’s proposal until the trustees had considered the situation at their next meeting.

"In the light of the above I am extremely disappointed that Sue Slipman was informed yesterday by the acting Chief Executive of the Confederation that she was being suspended with immediate effect. I am most concerned that this turn of events could be damaging for all concerned, not least Sue Slipman and her team. I have called an emergency meeting of the FTN Board to consider how we move forward from here with our members".

E pluribus unum
The NHS Confederation evidently sees greater value in unity.

The FT Network's proposals show that they see greater value in separation.

These are two opposing perspectives of the best way to get power in the liberated Brave New World. The one that we're not in yet.

If there is a separation in the meantime, it will have some unforeseen and invidious consequences.

Such as creating a tension between those mental health trusts who are FTs and those who are not.

If anybody were to want the NHS management community to be divided, they would be reasonably happy with this outcome.