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Maidstone aims for Foundation status

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is on a drive to recruit 10,000 people as membersover the next 18 months so that it can achieve Foundation status by 2014.

The Trust, which runs Maidstone Hospital and Tunbridge Wells Hospital, said Foundationtrusts have to be accountable to local people and members can vote for and stand as governors.

Some groups have raised concerns about the move, pointing out that the target of 10,000members is small compared with the 500,000 people it serves. The private finance initiative used to build the Trust’s new £225m hospital could also pose cash flow problems, they said.

The BBCreports that the Trust has stated it is awaiting confirmation of additionalgovernment funding to meet PFI costs.