Take a look at our frequently asked questions about the merger between the two trusts.
Western Sussex Hospitals has been providing leadership support to BSUH since April 2017. As the three year management contract formalising this arrangement entered its final year, the two Trust Boards agreed it was in the best interests of patients, the local community and staff to continue working together to improve services and the experience of all those who are cared for or employed in our hospitals.
The contract was extended for another year to allow time to design how best this collaboration could work. During this period we have seen our response to the pandemic strengthened by even closer collaboration and pooling of resources. Both of these are also essential going forwards as we continue to respond to the virus while restoring regular services.
At the same time, the regulatory and financial landscape of the NHS changed significantly, with a simplified merger process. Following these changes it became clear we needed to revisit all options for the future of the trusts.
The merger is a technical but important process to get the right leadership, structures and governance in place across both WSHT and BSUH to improve patient care. We have already tried and tested a shared executive team over the last 3 years. This has delivered a number of benefits including improved quality and safety of patient care.
There are a number of additional benefits from a merger between the trusts, including that we:
- Build on our Outstanding reputation and deliver excellent care to the communities in Sussex
- Have stronger leadership, governance and structures, enabling us to move forward quickly and keep improving care for patients
- Can benefit from greater ‘economies of scale’ as a larger and more influential NHS trust
- Have the potential to use the same processes and equipment to support the smoother running of services
- Create more career opportunities across our hospitals for our people
- Continue our closer collaboration and sharing of resources as we restore services and manage our ongoing response to the Covid pandemic
We believe a merger will be better for everyone, including our patients, our people and our partners.
Yes, a number of trusts have merged in recent years. In April four mergers were completed:
- Taunton and Somerset NHS FT and Somerset Partnership NHS FT
- Luton and Dunstable University NHS FT and Bedford Hospitals NHS Trust
- Weston Area Health NHS Trust and University Hospitals Bristol NHS FT
- Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, Southend University Hospitals NHS and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS
Patients will continue to access the same services and be seen by the same teams in the same places when we merge. However, we firmly believe the new organisation will be better for everyone by enabling us to achieve together what we cannot achieve alone – for example, unlocking opportunities that are not open to us within our individual resources and remits, and tackling problems that are too big for us to overcome on our own.
For patients, it means building on our Outstanding reputation to develop new services based on local priorities and need, continuing to raise standards of care, improving access to specialist services.
When we say that the new organisation will be better for everyone, making improvements that benefit our people will be absolutely central to that. It’s a proven fact that staff who are well supported and empowered to make change provide better patient care so one of the big advantages of becoming a single organisation is that we can offer new career development opportunities that would not otherwise be available, which will help us attract and retain more great people.
We can develop a more ambitious clinical strategy, offer our staff a more secure future and be better equipped to support them in responding to the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
The ambition is to create a vibrant, supportive organisation where staff can develop, innovate, deliver and support outstanding care.
Staff will be kept updated on the plans through our regular communications channels and all staff Teams Briefings. There will be regular opportunities for staff to ask questions and contribute to the process.
Further updates will be added here on this web page.