Derby & Burton Hospitals Merger

It has recently been announced that Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have merged to form University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust. The merger took place on 1 July 2018 after final approval from the board and governors at both Trusts, NHS Improvement and the Competition & Markets Authority (the “CMA”)

Derby And Burton Hospitals Merger

The new Trust will cover both Derbyshire and East Staffordshire and will run the following Hospitals in Derby, Burton, Tamworth and Lichfield:

  • Queen’s Hospital in Burton,
  • Royal Derby Hospital,
  • London Road Community Hospital in Derby,
  • Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in Tamworth and the
  • Samuel Johnson Community Hospital in Lichfield.

Gavin Boyle is the Chief Executive of the newly formed Trust. He was formerly the Chief Executive of Derby Hospitals.

It is reported that the merger is expected to save £23 million annually, with £9.5m savings for Burton Hospitals and £13.5m for Derby Hospitals.

Before the merger, which has been described as controversial, could take place, a patients’ benefits case was presented to NHS Improvement and the CMA to assess. Both regulators concluded that the merger would be beneficial.

NHS Improvement found that the merger will create a larger organisation that will provide more robust and resilient services for patients across East Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The regulator concluded that it anticipates the merged organisation will be more able to ensure that its services are provided in a safe, more clinically optimal and sustainable way, will be better able to recruit and retain staff and will develop more efficient pathways of care for patients.

The CMA found that the merger would result in patients having less choice for some services, ‘potentially reducing the Trusts’ incentives to maintain or improve quality in these services’. It however concluded that these concerns were outweighed by the overall expected benefits. Given the resource constraints of both Trusts, the CMA found that the merger will enable them to use their resources more effectively for patients across a wide range of specialities.

A consultation was carried out at Burton and Derby hospitals, which found that staff at both hospitals supported the merger.

Helen Scott-South, the former Chief Executive at Burton Hospitals commented:

“Our partnership will improve local services for patients as we both continue our journey towards providing outstanding care. This includes retaining Queen’s Hospital in Burton… and improving the core services we offer, including our A & E. It also enables us to work together on providing more specialist outpatient services at our community facilities in Tamworth and Lichfield.”

Gavin Boyle, commented:

“We have been hugely impressed by the spirit in which teams from both Trusts have worked together to explore how we can deliver better care for the communities we serve. A closer collaboration will help to deliver better healthcare to people in Staffordshire and Derbyshire…”

This latest merger comes after the CMA approved the merger of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in August 2017.

Comment

It is hoped that the merger will be beneficial for the provision of healthcare in Derbyshire and East Staffordshire. The merging of two large NHS Trusts is bound to have an impact and take time to settle. It will take some time before the impact on patient care and choice can be assessed and it will be important that the new Trust takes care to ensure that the impact isn’t a negative one. It also remains to be seen whether the trend in the merger of NHS Trusts continues.

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