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'Unsustainable' Midlands trust picks merger partner

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Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has been named as the preferred organisation to acquire neighbouring Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The announcement comes after the troubled Nottinghamshire acute provider said last month that it had no future as an independent organisation and was searching for another organisation to take it on.

“This is a unique opportunity to further improve patient care and services”

Peter Homa

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had also expressed interest, but Sherwood Forest said the proposal from Nottingham University Hospitals offered the best long term benefits to patients.

Sherwood Forest, which has been in special measures since 2013, said that joining with Nottingham University Hospitals to create a single organisation was a “clear strategic fit”.

The trust said the proposal showed that it would be able to provide strong support from its senior clinicians, regular patient movement between the trusts and an ability to easily release its staff to work with Sherwood Forest’s hospital teams to support immediate improvement

Nottingham University Hospitals will provide Sherwood Forest with immediate support to improve clinical performance.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ interim chief executive Peter Herring said: “We believe this partnership will give us the best opportunity to move forward with a fresh start to improve and deliver the highest quality services in a sustainable way for our patients.

“We look forward to working with Nottingham University Hospitals and creating a new larger, combined organisation with them.

“We believe this partnership will give us the best opportunity to move forward”

Peter Herring

Nottingham University Hospitals chief executive Peter Homa said: “This is a unique opportunity to further improve patient care and services and help achieve clinical quality and financial sustainability for the health and social care system across Nottinghamshire.

“In the short term, we will deploy extra staff to work with teams at Sherwood Forest to further embed and accelerate recent improvements in the areas highlighted by the Care Quality Commission.

“We have very carefully considered the capacity and conditions required to make this partnership a success, as we confront our own challenges,” he added.

Nottingham University Hospitals is currently forecasting a year-end deficit of £49.2m, while Sherwood Forest is predicting a £33m shortfall.

The two trusts must now develop a business case to be assessed by new regulator NHS Improvement, and the proposals will go to the Competition and Markets Authority, if necessary.

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