Officials and staff at a health trust are have been marking ten years since it joined the NHS elite and became a foundation trust.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which employs 9,500 staff, achieved the status in August 2006.
And in the ten years, it has seen its reputation grow nationally while overseen a number of changes and new facilities locally.
One of the biggest was the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital at Cramlington, providing emergency care 24/7.
Other achievements include one of only five trusts currently rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission; named as one of the country’s ‘top hospitals’ for nine consecutive years; and taking over responsibility for community services in North Tyneside.
David Evans, chief executive, said: “Becoming a foundation trust was the first step in our journey to becoming the ‘outstanding’ trust we are today.
“Achieving this status gives us greater freedom to plan our services around the needs of our population and over the last 10 years, we have worked hard to tailor and improve the care we provide.
“It also gives us greater say as to how money is spent and as financially one of the best-run trusts in the country, it has enabled us to reinvest surplus finances.
“While it’s a time to look back, it’s also an opportunity to look forward and set ourselves the challenge of building on our achievements for the next decade.”
Alan Richardson, chairman of Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Being a foundation trust enables us to have a direct link with our local communities through our governors and members and over the last 10 years our Council of Governors has gone from strength to strength.
“By representing the views of local people, our governors play a key role, regularly giving valuable input into how our services are run and ultimately holding our board to account.
“With more than 65,000 members, our membership is one of the largest and most engaged in the country and we would encourage people living in Northumberland and North Tyneside to join us and have their say on local healthcare.”
To become a member visit www.northumbria.nhs.uk/members to complete the online application form or call the foundation membership team on 0191 203 1296.