University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust and North Bristol Trust have agreed to work towards a merger, potentially creating an organisation with an annual turnover of almost £1bn.
The agreement follows months of detailed work by a project board set up to evaluate the benefits of a potential merger and will bring to an end years of speculation in the city.
University Hospitals Bristol’s board approved plans to take forward detailed plans for integration following agreement by North Bristol’s board late last week.
In a joint statement, the trust’s said they would be working towards “the establishment of a new single foundation trust with its own identity and vision”, which could be in operation as soon as the end of 2013.
The statement said the project board, which saw nursing, medical and finance directors from each trust working closely together, had identified that one organisation would bring improvements by simplifying processes for patients moving between organisations.
The board also concluded a single organisation would help Bristol fulfil its academic potential as a major research and teaching centre, as well as providing opportunities for workforce efficiencies and making it easier to implement planned service reconfigurations.
Both trusts will now produce business cases which must be approved by their boards.
North Bristol Trust director of nursing Marie-Noelle Orzel has been interim chief executive of the organisation since 2 July.
She replaced Ruth Brunt, another former nurse, who retired at the end of June after 40 years in the NHS.
30 July 2012