The new audit code was issued today by the Independent Regulator of the trusts and follows consultation with firms, government and audit bodies.
The code applies to the audit of the ten highly-contentious foundation hospitals established on 1 April this year and relates to all audit work for financial years beginning on or after 1 April 2004.
Foundation hospitals have more autonomy from the Department of Health but remain within the NHS. They can retain the proceeds from land sales for reinvestment in local services, borrow money from banks, and have the ability to vary staff pay levels over and above nationally agreed terms and conditions.
Those who have argued against foundation trust hospitals claim that they will lead to a two-tier NHS service.
The NHS Trusts are: Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.
Copies of the guidelines can be downloaded at http://www.nhsft-regulator.gov.uk/publications.php?id=497
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