Extraordinary Trust Board, 18 March

A proposed merger of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WSHT) and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) will be discussed at a public board meeting on Thursday 18 March.

Starting at 2pm, the trusts’ board of directors will meet virtually, followed by the WSHT Council of Governors at 4pm. The meetings can be observed online using the following MS Teams link:

WSHT and BSUH have been working together under a shared leadership team for four years. During this time, WSHT became the first ever acute hospital trust to be rated Outstanding by the CQC in all key inspection areas and BSUH jumped three inspection ratings to Good overall, and Outstanding for caring. Additionally, BSUH was revealed by the NHS Staff Survey to be the most improved trust in the country.

Chief executive Dame Marianne Griffiths DBE said: “The continuous improvement of all our patient services is the driving force behind our proposed merger and we are confident that by coming together as one trust we will continue to improve hospital care in Sussex. We are committed to continuing to invest in the services delivered by both our trusts and to maintaining our 24/7 A&E, emergency care departments, maternity services, tertiary, specialist and trauma services.”

Chairman Alan McCarthy said: “Following months of planning, we are confident that by creating a new and larger single organisation we can deliver a broad range of benefits for both our patients and staff. This includes better access to services, greater continuity of care as well as the potential to provide new services for our patients.”

The boards and Council of Governors are meeting to decide whether to confirm and approve a joint statutory application to NHS England & Improvement (NHSEI) to merge WSHT and BSUH trusts. If the application proceeds, it would be expected for NHSEI to grant the statutory application in time for the creation of a new merged acute hospitals NHS foundation trust in Sussex on 1 April 2021.

At the end of the meeting the trust board will answer questions from members of the public. These can be submitted in advance by emailing company secretary glen.palethorpe@nhs.net by 5pm on 15 March, 2021. Board papers will be published on the trusts’ websites in advance of the meetings.