Published on: 18 January 2018
The Boards of both South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, following discussions with Trust governors in South Tyneside and Sunderland, have today shared a mutual desire to begin exploring the possibility of becoming one organisation in the future.
Both NHS Foundation Trusts have already been working very closely together since March 2016 and signed a formal partnership agreement in April 2016 which committed both organisations to transforming the way local services are delivered for the benefit of patient care.
A single executive management team has been in place at both NHS Foundation Trusts since November 2016, led by Chief Executive Officer Ken Bremner who was appointed as CEO across both Trusts in September 2016.
The strategic alliance between the two NHS Foundation Trusts has already brought many benefits with shared clinical expertise helping to improve access, quality of care and outcomes for patients.For example:
Whilst both organisations continue to operate as statutory NHS Foundation Trusts, each with its own Board of Directors, a Group Board has also been operating since May 2016.Leaders now share the unanimous view that it is the right time to start thinking about what a possible merger of both organisations might look like and, importantly, what further benefits this could bring for both patients and staff in future.
Both Trusts have today signalled their intentions to explore whether a possible merger would bring further benefits for patients and to begin a detailed strategic business planning process looking ahead to the next three to five years. This will help outline the potential next steps to bring both organisations together as one and secure a sustainable and resilient healthcare system for the population across South Tyneside and Sunderland.
This work will take place alongside ‘phase two’ of the Path to Excellence clinical transformation programme which will begin in earnest later this year looking at a number of clinical pathways across both organisations and how services can be best planned and ‘futureproofed’ to meet the rising demands on the NHS and local workforce.
Chief Executive Ken Bremner said: “We have made great strides since coming together to form the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group with many clear benefits for our patients.We know, however, that there is still much more to do and this starts with exploring whether we should cement the relationship between our two Trusts for the long-term.
“It is important that our patients, staff and stakeholders have a very clear message about what we envisage for the future and both Boards felt the timing was right to share this ambition now so that we can begin to openly discuss what a possible merger between our two organisations might mean.
“The strengths of working together across a greater geography are already abundantly clear and our aim is to make it as easy as possible for our teams to work effectively together without unnecessary organisational boundaries.
“As we look to the future and phase two of the Path to Excellence programme in 2018, I want everyone to feel confident and assured about the long-term organisational intentions of both Trusts and our commitment to working together for the benefits of our patients and staff.
“This is really just the start of that conversation and we are committed to engaging with patients, staff and stakeholders as this work progresses over the year ahead.”