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Nursing director ‘excited’ at prospect of future trust merger

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A director of nursing has said she is positive about how the merger of her community trust with a nearby mental health provider will create “opportunities” to improve patient care.

It was announced today that the two NHS trusts providing community-based physical and mental health services in Gloucestershire are to merge together under joint leadership.

“I am excited about the opportunity we now have to improve the way we work together”

Sue Field

Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and will jointly appoint a new chair and chief executive covering both organisations later this year.

The joint chair and chief executive, which will replace the current four separate posts, will then “set plans in motion” to bring the two organisations together, said the trusts in a statement.

The aim of the move, they said, was to provide “seamless” mental and physical health services to patients, service users and carers.

The trusts aim to have appointed their new joint chair and chief executive by the end of November, with the incumbents expected to take up post in January 2018, said the statement

Consultation will then begin with staff about the “next steps”, it added. Both trusts will remain separate legal entities with independent boards until a full business case is completed and approved.

Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust

Nursing director ‘excited’ at prospect of trust merger

Sue Field

“Staff within both organisations have been informed, and will be continuously updated in the weeks and months to come,” it said, noting that further announcements would follow “in due course”.

A spokeswoman for 2gether confirmed to Nursing Times that senior nurse leadership at the trusts would continue with separate posts for the time being.

Susan Field is currently director of nursing at Gloucestershire Care and was appointed in December 2012, while Marie Crofts is director of nursing and quality at 2gether.

“The only imminent changes to our boards will be the appointment of the Joint chair and joint chief executive,” said the spokeswoman.

“Both Marie Crofts and Sue Field remain as directors of nursing for the respective trusts,” she added.

Speaking on today’s announcement, Ms Field said: “Our nurses and allied health professionals working in community health services know well the impact long term physical health conditions can have on people’s mental health.  

“I am excited about the opportunity we now have to improve the way we work together to better meet the physical, psychological and social needs of people,” she stated.

Shaun Clee is currently chief executive of 2gether and Katie Norton is chief executive of Gloucestershire Care.

In a joint statement, they said: “It has become increasingly clear, both locally and nationally, that ‘there is no health without mental health’ and that a combined provider of mental and physical services could benefit many of the people we separately support.”

2gether NHS Foundation Trust

Nursing director ‘excited’ at prospect of trust merger

Marie Crofts

The chairs of the two organisations are Ruth FitzJohn and Ingrid Barker, respectively. They said: “We believe that an integrated approach will further improve the experience and outcomes our patients and service users receive.

“This will also be beneficial for everyone who works for both organisations,” they said. “Combining our collective resources, knowledge, innovation and expertise, will enable us to provide a broader career path and open up new ways of working.”

2gether, formerly known as Gloucestershire Partnership NHS Trust, was established in July 2007 and employs 2,300 staff.

It provides services in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire for people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities. It is currently rated as “good” by the Care Quality Commission and has an income of £113m.

Gloucestershire Care provides community health services across the county, offering multi-disciplinary support to people in their homes and in community settings.

The trust also runs Gloucestershire’s seven community hospitals, provides district nursing across the county, and runs a large number of specialist services.

It has a £112m income and is rated as “requires improvement” by the CQC. Both trusts recorded small surpluses in 2016-17.





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