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NHS foundation trusts contribute £30 bn to UK economy


NHS foundation trusts deliver £30 billion in economic value annually, according to new research examining how they boost local economies. To put this into context, this is nearly as much as tourism’s total contribution to the economy[i], demonstrating the importance and value a local foundation trust hospital brings to its local community. 

The report, Providing Value: The economic and social value of foundation trusts, published by Barclays and the Foundation Trust Network (FTN) sets out, for the first time, the economic benefits regionally. This is demonstrated through the employment of staff, procurement of services, and partnership work with other public and private sector organisations in addition to spending on research and direct support of local suppliers, transport operators, energy providers and construction firms. 

Paul Birley, Head of Healthcare at Barclays said: 

“Foundation trusts are at the heart of their communities and this research, for the first time, values this contribution at £30 billion annually to the UK economy.  Showcasing the foundation trust as a vital component of local lives, from the number of people they employ, to local community initiatives.  

“Any changes to the healthcare system must therefore acknowledge not only the clinical impact, but also the wider implications such changes could have.  What is very clear is that the foundation trust model is about more than delivering care, it is also about the broader responsibility it has to its local community.” 

The report goes beyond an NHS provider’s traditional role in patient care, looking instead at the broader contribution of foundation trusts to their communities, both economically and socially. The research demonstrates that trusts deliver social value in a variety of ways through trust governance arrangements, sourcing local goods, environmental reduction schemes, and employee and patient health promotion initiatives and through international work. 

The research has developed a tool that foundation trusts can use to help benchmark social value, which is designed to support trusts in measuring this social value and reporting it transparently to the public and commissioners.

 Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, added: “In the current economic climate, it has never been more important to capture and share the full value of the foundation trust model in local communities, including the economic investment made in local areas, the employment generated and the wider social benefits created by their services.  

"The research demonstrates that every trust in the NHS plays a vital social function by helping people improve their health and wellbeing, and by treating illness and injury safely and effectively.  I am delighted that this report celebrates and shares the added value trusts can play in every region by acting as responsible employers, reducing the environmental impact of the organisation and by delivering a range of long-term social benefits.”


[i] World Travel and Tourism Council, Tourism in the UK contributes more to GDP than automotive manufacturing, June 2012.  Available at: http://www.wttc.org/news-media/news-archive/2012/tourism-uk-contributes-more-gdp-automotive-manufacturing/

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