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Merger plans revealed for major Midlands hospital trusts

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Two major acute trusts in Birmingham have announced their intention to merge, while two more in Nottingham have unveiled further details of a similar planned move.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust announced on Wednesday that it intends to create a “single organisation” with Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust.

“We have agreed that the current arrangements are not sustainable”

Julie Moore

However, a similar merger between two hospital trusts in the East Midlands has been delayed until next year, it was announced today.

Earlier this week, the two Birmingham trust boards said they would prepare a business case by the end of 2016 to create a single entity through either an acquisition or merger.

The new organisation would be bigger than any existing trust in terms of turnover at £1.4bn and could be the second biggest in the country if a proposed city-wide trust for Manchester is created.

The decision comes almost a year after the well-respected senior nurse, Dame Julie Moore, was appointed to the chief executive role at Heart of England alongside her role as chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham.

Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal understands the plan is “an independent process and not part of the [sustainability and transformation plan]” .

Dame Julie Moore

Dame Julie Moore

Julie Moore

The trust aims to complete a business case for either merger or acquisition by the end of the year, which will then be considered for approval by regulators, both organisation’s councils of governors and the Competition and Markets Authority.

The trusts have already begun to review possible mergers of functions in areas such as finance, procurement, HR, IT, education and communications.

Dame Julie said: “We have agreed that the current arrangements are not sustainable. If we are to continue working together to maximise clinical benefits for patients, we need to implement a transformation that will deliver better access to better quality services for patients, supported by the most effective structure.

“Patients are not getting that at the moment despite the tireless work of staff across both trusts. We need our hospitals and services focussed on doing the best for patients, not protecting their organisational boundaries,” she said.

“The single trust will pool the best talent and leadership from both organisations,” she added.

“Some of the work required to create the merged organisation is taking longer than expected”

Peter Homa

Meanwhile, it was revealed today that the proposed merger of Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is now likely to happen in 2017, rather than later this year.

Nottingham University Hospitals was named in February as the preferred organisation to acquire its struggling neighbour Sherwood Forest Hospitals, which in January said it had no future as an independent organisation and was searching for another organisation to take it on.

Peter Homa, chief executive of both trusts, said the two organisations remained “committed” to form the new Nottinghamshire University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Troubled trust starts search for takeover or merger partner

Peter Homa

“We aimed to complete the merger before the busy winter period,” he said. “However, despite our best efforts and the hard work of very many colleagues, it has not been possible to do so, as some of the work required to create the merged organisation is taking longer than expected.”

He added: “During this period of transition, we will further strengthen our joint working and where appropriate continue our work to integrate our services and functions, whilst ensuring each organisation gives proportionate attention to the immediate operational priorities.”

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