Stronger together: Trusts move closer to merger
Two NHS Trusts covering Brent, Ealing and Harrow agreed this week that plans to merge their organisations should now go ahead to the next stage.
The Boards of Ealing Hospital NHS Trust and The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust considered a draft of the Full Business Case, which sets out why the two organisations would be stronger together.
The merger would create a new NHS organisation delivering high-quality, integrated hospital and community services for the people of Brent, Ealing and Harrow.
The draft Full Business Case will now be submitted to NHS North West London, NHS London and the Department of Health for consideration. The final Full Business Case will be presented to Boards in September for approval. The ultimate decision for the merger rests with the Department of Health and, if approved, it would take place in early 2013.
In addition to saving on management costs, both Trusts believe the merger will benefit patients and staff through the creation of larger and more specialised clinical teams, so patients can see a real specialist in their particular condition. At the same time, bringing together hospital and community services will mean care is more integrated, with fewer hospital visits and more treatment closer to home.
In a joint statement, Ealing Hospital NHS Trust Chief Executive Julie Lowe and The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive Peter Coles said: “We believe the two trusts would be stronger as one and a merger would create a first-class organisation, with many benefits for patients and staff. By joining the Trusts together, we will be able to offer 24/7 access to large and highly-specialised clinical teams, as well as providing seamless care from hospital to health centre to home across Brent, Ealing and Harrow.
“While this is not a final decision to merge, it is an important step in the process and we are aiming to consider the final Full Business Case for approval in September.”
• A copy of the draft Full Business Case (FBC) can be viewed at www.nwlh.nhs.uk/stronger-together
• The draft FBC was considered by the Boards of The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust and Ealing Hospital NHS Trust at their meetings, which are held in public, on 19 June and 20 June respectively: www.nwlh.nhs.uk, www.ealinghospital.nhs.uk
• The new organisation would have a budget of around £586 million, employ more than 6,000 staff and care for approximately 850,000 people
• The new merged Trust would include:
o Central Middlesex Hospital
o Community services across Brent, Harrow and Ealing, including Clayponds Rehabilitation Hospital and Meadow House Hospice
o Ealing Hospital
o Northwick Park Hospital
o St Mark’s Hospital (a specialist and internationally-renowned hospital for the treatment of diseases of the bowel and gut)
• The FBC makes the case for organisational merger; it does not propose any significant changes to services; reconfiguration of services across north west London is currently being considered through the Shaping a healthier future programme; for more information www.northwestlondon.nhs.uk/shapingahealthierfuture
• A provisional timeline for the approvals process to establish the merged Trust is as follows:
Trust Boards (public session) – 19 & 20 June
NHS London Board (private session) – 28 June
NWL Cluster Board (public session) – 9 July
Department of Health Transactions Board – 29 July
Trust Boards (public session) – Early September
NHS London Board (public session) – September
Department of Health Transactions Board – October
• The Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP) for NHS-funded services announced last week that sufficient patient choice and competition would remain if Ealing Hospital NHS Trust and The North West London Hospitals NHS Trust were to merge following their review; for more information go to: http://www.ccpanel.org.uk/cases/Merger_of_Ealing_Hospital_NHS_Trust_with_North_West_London_Hospitals_NHS_Trust.html
• The Trusts have agreed the name of the proposed new organisation as London North West Healthcare NHS Trust
• Commissioners (currently primary care trusts, but increasingly clinical commissioning groups) plan to change the services they buy to ensure they meet the standards expected of a modern health service; in particular, this involves centralising care for rarer conditions that need expert treatment in fewer, more specialised centres and providing care for common conditions as locally as possible, ideally in or close to patients’ own homes
• The two Trusts have consulted local involvement networks (LINks) and engaged with local organisations and patient representatives across the three boroughs through a range of meetings, and distributed more than 12,000 copies of summary booklets outlining the reasons for the merger.