NHS Trusts set to merge together to improve experience of patients and staff

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) are set to merge together to form a single organisation later this year in a move designed to improve the experience of patients and staff living in north Cumbria and beyond.

The trusts have already joined up some care they provide to patients and the way it is delivered behind the scenes over the last year, which is already proving to be better for patients as well as being a more cost effective way of working. 

Now the trusts are proposing to formally merge into a single organisation to fully join up how they work creating even more benefits for patients and staff, securing the long term future of health and care services and ensuring we are making the most of the Cumbrian pound.

Alison Smith, Executive System Chief Nurse across both Trusts said:

“We have already achieved a great deal by working in a much more collaborative way and it’s given us a real glimpse of the potential that fully removing organisational boundaries will bring.  

“Merging has the potential to unlock huge benefits for our patients such as creating a fully integrated service in a number of areas including stroke, children and families and care of the elderly by bringing community and hospital based teams together.

“We will able to create a single point of leadership for services including community based minor injuries services and the emergency departments which will give us more flexibility in the use of staff and resources especially during peak periods.

“Single policies and procedures will make it easier for our staff to work together and we will be able to offer more varied roles in community and hospital settings encouraging more people to come and work and stay with us.

“We will also be able to reduce the costs of supporting services by reducing duplication, and maximising on local skills and talent.”

The boards of both Trusts approved the strategic case for the proposed merger last month and have today published a document which sets out the plans and benefits in more detail including case studies of patient and staff stories.  The Trusts now plan to talk to staff, governors and the wider community about the proposals in the coming months.  The merger will be subject to the development a full business case and approval by the regulator NHS Improvement with a view to the merger taking place on 1st October 2019.

Stephen Eames, Chief Executive of both Trusts and lead for the North Cumbria Integrated Care System said,

“Since my appointment as Chief Executive of CPFT in September 2017, we have made great progress in joining up care for our patients. Our progress has been recognised nationally and attracted capital investment for the development of a new cancer centre, the West Cumberland Hospital redevelopment and community hospitals.  To fully realise all the benefits, we do now need to merge to become a single organisation.

“It is a necessary step in our wider plans to join up all of health and care services.  North Cumbria is already one of 14 national integrated care systems and is working as part of the larger aspirant north Cumbria and north east integrated care system.  This way of working has been endorsed nationally in the NHS long term plan which sets out integration as one of the requirements to drive an NHS fit for the future.” 

A summary document contacting information about the merger is available to read.