NHS Foundation Trust - Become a Member

Do you know someone who has a mental health condition or learning disability? For example:

Alzheimerís or another form of dementia

autism;

anxiety;

depression

an eating disorder

Probably, since one in every four people will have a mental health problem like these at some time in their life, from childhood to old age Ė three times as many as will have cancer.

Somerset Partnership provides specialist mental health services for the people of Somerset, and we want Somerset people to have a say in how we develop our services to best support those who need us, and their families. We are also keen to involve people outside the county who have an interest in Somerset's mental health services.

What is an NHS Foundation Trust?

An NHS Foundation Trust is a new type of NHS organisation -all existing NHS Trusts have been asked to apply to become NHS Foundation Trusts. Being an NHS Foundation Trust does not affect the way in which people can access our services, or reduce the quality of care we deliver.

As an NHS Foundation Trust, we have more independence, and can therefore make plans to develop and improve services to meet local needs. Because our income is guaranteed for three years at a time through legally binding contracts, we are able to plan over longer periods, something we could not do previously. As well, if we have a surplus at the end of a financial year, we are able to keep this and use it to improve our services, which non- foundations NHS Trusts cannot do.

We would like you to support us in our work

We have become an NHS Foundation Trust because we want to provide the best possible care for people with mental health problems, and believe that being an NHS Foundation Trust will make this easier. This is because we would be accountable to local people who become Members of the NHS Foundation Trust, and we would very much like you to become a Member. We need as many members as possible to ensure that we hear and use the experiences and opinions of the people we serve.

Everyone aged 12 years or over, who lives in England or Wales, can apply to become a Member

As a Member, you will receive regular updates on what we are doing and our plans for the future, and will be invited to give your views. You can also stand for election to the Membersí Council, if you are aged 16 years or over. The Membersí Council has an important role in helping to agree the Trustís plans, and in ensuring that the views of our Members are taken into account.

Please join us as a Member of our NHS Foundation Trust, to find out about our work, and to have your say in how we provide services, so that when somebody you know needs us, we will be there to offer the best possible help and support.

Membership Benefits

As a Member you will:

be kept in touch with news and developments in our regular membersí newsletter;

be invited to membersí meetings on mental health issues and the Trustís activities and future plans;

be invited to give your views on our plans for the future through questionnaires and meetings;

be able to vote in elections to the Membersí Council, which works with the Board of Directors to develop services;

be able to stand for election to the Membersí Council yourself, if you are aged 16 years or over.

Membership and membersí activities are free, and you will not be asked to commit yourself to anything Ė you decide how much involvement you want.

Please click here to access an online form.

If you prefer you can write to the address below or speak to someone for more information.

Contact the Membership Office

2nd Floor, Mallard Court

Express Park

Bristol Road

Bridgwater

TA6 4RN

Tel: 01278 432026

Fax: 01278 432099