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Become a Member

Join us today - Become a member and help shape our services!

As a Foundation Trust, we have greater flexibility to provide health services that our communities really need. To do this we need input from you – to ensure that we truly serve people’s needs.

Membership is free and doesn’t mean you have to do anything if you don’t want to – we just want your support. That can range from simply receiving our quarterly newsletter or as much as standing for election as a governor. To become a member, complete our online membership form.

Join us for free

Please join us and become a member of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust so that you can share your views, be kept up to date about our plans and developments, or even take a more active role.  As a member you will receive our regular newsletter, Stepping Up which keeps you informed about our latest news and gives more information about our events programme.

You can become a member of our Foundation Trust, as long as you are 11 or over.  Please ask your parent or guardian for permission if you are under 16. Being a member means that you can help shape how we run our services. You can have as little or as much involvement as you would like.

As a member you can:

  • Give your views on how our services are run and developed
  • Take part in surveys and focus groups
  • Find out about our latest developments e.g. through our quarterly Stepping Up newsletter and emails
  • Receive invitations to events e.g. open day, annual members meeting and information seminars
  • Vote for your governor
  • Stand as a governor

Your Governors

We have over 17,000 public and staff members, who are represented in turn by our council of governors.  Our Trust currently has a 22-strong Council of Governors that help make important decisions that allow us to provide the best service possible – find out more about your governors here.

You can see our governors and their contact details here.

Council of Governors

Our Council of Governors meetings are held four times a year in our lecture theatres, Pinewood House Education Centre, Stepping Hill Hospital. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The agenda and papers for the meeting are available on the site approximately one week prior to the meeting. Click here to view all of our Council of Governor meeting dates or to view documents of previous governor meetings.


Every year we run our annual members meeting, and a series of health talks for the public, led by our expert clinical staff. All the talks are in Pinewood House Education Centre at Stepping Hill Hospital and anyone interested is encouraged to attend. View all of our events.

Members` newsletter

Read our latest news in our members newsletter. Our members regularly receive the Stepping Up newsletter by email, but you can also read it online. 

Membership Strategy

See below for our latest Membership Strategy.

Membership Strategy 2022-25

To register as a member of the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, please join us.


Your data 

When applying to become a member, the data you supply will be used only to contact you about the Trust`s membership and/or other related issues and will be stored in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We have updated our privacy policy and the way we manage your personal data.  You can view our full privacy policy here

We hope that our information is useful to you, but if you would like to have your name and contact information removed from our database, or if you would like to access or update your information, please send a request to membership@stockport.nhs.uk .

Want to know more?  Try our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are the answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding Foundation Trusts and why Stockport NHS Foundation Trust became one. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact our membership office on 0161 419 4653.

Background information
Council of Governors
Broader financial and governance issues
Can I help or get involved


Background information

What are NHS Foundation Trusts?

Foundation Trusts are membership organisations free from central government control. They are regulated by an organisation called NHS Improvement to protect the public interest. If Foundation Trusts make a financial surplus they can invest this in services. Foundation Trusts have more freedom to borrow for capital projects like new buildings. Foundation Trusts have to deliver on national targets and standards like the rest of the NHS, but they are free to decide how they achieve this.

What are the benefits of being a Foundation Trust?

NHS Foundation Trusts have more freedom to decide how to run their affairs and deliver services. The membership side of being a Foundation Trust will deliver better patient, family and public engagement.

Are Foundation Trusts outside the NHS?

No. Foundation Trusts are part of the NHS and committed to its core principles of treating NHS patients according to clinical need, free at the point of delivery. In general Foundation Trusts continue to work cooperatively with other NHS partners in the best interests of patients. They remain part of the public service.

Does our Foundation Trust status mean more money for services?

The financial regime for all trusts remains challenging and we cannot expect Stockport’s Foundation Trust status itself to provide extra income. Although we can borrow to invest, we would need to be able to repay the loan and interest. It does mean that if we get our costs under control and our strategy right, we will gain money to invest in clinical innovation and better services for patients, which is what we all want.


What does membership mean?

A Foundation Trust has a membership. Membership is free. Members are drawn from staff, patients and their families; and the general public. Members elect representatives to the Council of Governors. The Council of Governors also consists of representatives from:

  • Commissioners
  • Stockport Community and Voluntary Services
  • Stockport College
Who is eligible for membership?

Public membership is limited to people who live in Stockport, The High Peak, Tameside and Glossop, and Greater Manchester. Please see the section below regarding staff membership.

What are the arrangements for representing the interests of children?

This is a very important issue and one which we must get right. Membership is open to children over the age of 11. Young people will need to be over the age of 16 to be elected to the Council of Governors. We want to involve children and young people more and actively listening to their views.

What benefits does having a membership base bring to a Foundation Trust and what are the benefits of being a member?

Membership offers the hospital the following benefits:

We see the membership through the Council of Governors as being one guardian of the values of the organisation, ensuring that it operates as it should and in compliance with its authorisation.

The benefit we offer therefore is the right to participate and be consulted, to advise and counsel. In essence a member will get more information and more opportunity to comment and be involved than they would if a non-member.

There are a number of ways we ask for members’ input – through email, post and sometimes through events – and we welcome your suggestions and comments.

Membership offers more formal involvement for everyone and an additional route to engage with and shape the strategic direction of the Trust.



What does being a Foundation Trust mean for staff?

Without effective trained and committed staff there are no services. Staff will gain new involvement in developing our strategy through staff membership. We want to consult staff in what they want to achieve and what is currently making that difficult.

Why should staff be interested?

Staff membership represents an opportunity to comment on the long term financial and clinical strategy for the Trust. Foundation Trust status does not solve every problem or remove every challenge, but it is an opportunity to improve things for patients and staff.

How do staff become members?

Staff members are automatically members of the Foundation Trust.


Council of Governors

What is the role of the Council of Governors?

The Council of Governors has various statutory duties to do with appointing the Chair and other non-executive directors, approving the appointment of the Chief Executive, receiving accounts and appointing auditors.

The Council of Governors:

  • Works with the Trust Board and advises the hospital on strategy and priorities, to make sure that we are tackling what`s important for our patients and their families.
  • Helps us get our members involved in the work of the hospital, and to recruit more members.
  • Holds the organisation to account, by making sure that we do what we say we will do.
  • Guards the values of the organisation, so that we always put the patient first.
  • Reflects and involves the users of our services and their families and thus help us to improve their experience.
What is the Trust Board?

The Trust Board runs the hospital and currently has seven Stockport NHS Foundation Trust executives on it (Chief Executive, Director of Finance, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Medical Director, Director of Human Resources and Director of Planning and Business Development) and five Non-Executive Directors (the Chair and four others) who are paid part time outsiders appointed to provide external expertise and to keep an eye on the broader public interest. The Chair and Non-Executive Directors are appointed for a term of four years. They can have two terms.

What doesn`t the Council of Governors do?

The Council of Governors does not get involved with the day to day running of the hospital or spend money. Nor does it deal with individual complaints by staff or families.

How is the Council of Governors made up?

The public membership community is made up of six constituencies – Bramhall & Cheadle, Tame Valley & Werneth, Heatons & Victoria, Marple & Stepping Hill, High Peaks & Dales and Tameside & Glossop, and outer region. Each constituency will elect or select its representatives.

In total, the Council of Governors is made up of 30 governors:

  • Twenty people elected by the public constituency
  • Four from the staff constituency
  • Six appointed by partner organisations

We believe that this is a manageable and optimum number of governors, given the size of the Trust and its national profile. The composition aims to be representative of the communities served by the Trust.

What do I need to be aware of if I’m considering being an elected governor?

Elected governors serve for three years at a time and can serve six years in total. You have to be a member, and aged over 16 years old on the closing date for nominations to be nominated as a governor. There are some legal exclusions. Please see below for details. Elected governors are unpaid (but can claim basic travel expenses and meals).

Governors elected in the staff constituency get reasonable time off work for their work as governor. It’s the same arrangement as a trade union representative, with reasonable time off agreed with your manager. It is an important role but you’re not financially responsible if something goes wrong.

What are the exclusions?

To consent to nomination and agree to stand for election to the Council of Governors it is necessary to declare that you are not:

  • a person who has been adjudged bankrupt or whose estate has been sequestrated and (in either case) has not been discharged;
  • a person who has made a composition or arrangement with, or granted a trust deed for, his creditors and has not been discharged in respect of it;
  • a person who within the preceding five years has been convicted in the British Islands of any offence if a sentence of imprisonment (whether suspended or not) for a period of not less than three months (without the option of a fine) was imposed on him;
  • excluded by any other provision detailed within Annex 6 of the Trust’s constitution.
What commitment is required as a governor?

The Council of Governors meets four times a year and we hope governors will also be willing to work on other groups. There are documents and reports to read before meetings. There will be a time commitment, but we know that everyone is busy with other activities (work, school, college, social life etc.!) so we are realistic about how much of this can be done.

Elected governors need to stay in touch with those who voted for them. Governors will keep members informed of decision making through a regular news update. We run surveys and events to help governors stay in touch with members.

What do we hope to get from governors?

Committed people with relevant experience (as a patient, parent or other life experience) who will help fulfil the important role of the Council. People who can use their experience but don’t see themselves as single issue or single department representatives.

What do we hope our governors will get from being a governor?

We hope that governors get:

  • A chance to give something back and contribute to our future
  • An opportunity for personal development
  • An opportunity to get involved in something interesting and enjoyable.
What is the elections timetable?

Find out when the next elections will be held.

How does the Council of Governors work in practice?

The council of governors includes a wide range of people. We help the council work together, and work with the hospital management and staff to make sure that we are all aiming to improve things for our patients and families.

We will try and avoid jargon and speak so we all understand each other. Do let us know any issues or concerns, questions or ideas so we can feed these into our decisions.


Broader financial and governance issues

What happens if as a Foundation Trust we perform poorly financially year on year?

We are responsible to NHS Improvement for all aspects of our performance, and NHS Improvement is responsible for ensuring Foundation Trusts run efficiently. If, after a significant period of time, NHS Improvement felt it was appropriate they may bring in external management to Trusts in the same way as happens currently for ordinary NHS Trusts.

What role does NHS Improvement, the body that regulates Foundation Trusts play?

NHS Improvement is primarily interested in whether we are financially robust, legally constituted and well governed. They are less concerned about exactly what service decisions we make. However, they will ensure we run services we are required to run and that we continue to provide the best quality clinical care.

What is the composition of NHS Improvement and what level of authority do they have?

NHS Improvement reports annually direct to Parliament. For further information, see NHS Improvement`s website.

Can I help or get involved?

Public queries or offers of help

Email membership@stockport.nhs.uk or 0161 419 4653. You can also apply to join us a Foundation Trust member by completing the online application form.

Annual Members Meeting

Our Annual Members Meeting 2020 was held online August 4th 2020. questions and answers from the meeting are below.

 Annual Members Meeting 2020 Questions and Answers v3 


© Stockport NHS Foundation Trust 2024. Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport, SK2 7JE. 0161 483 1010