Consultation starts on plan to merge Sunderland and South Tyneside hospital trusts

Sunderland Royal Hospital
Sunderland Royal Hospital

Health trust bosses in Sunderland and South Tyneside have unveiled plans to merge.

Now South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are seeking the views of staff, patients and members of the public on the plans to become one organisation.

South Tyneside District Hospital

South Tyneside District Hospital

Today marks the start of nine weeks of consultation with all stakeholders as both trusts progress plans to come together as one.

Launching their ‘Stronger Together’ plan, the trusts have outlined a number of benefits they say will result:

*expand and develop services to benefit more people across South Tyneside and Sunderland by delivering excellent patient care;

*remove unnecessary organisational boundaries and create a joined-up ‘system’ for patients so that they experience more seamless care;

Ken Bremner

Ken Bremner

*transform the use of digital technology by joining up IT systems to improve patient care and experience;

*make initial savings of £8 million by 2023 by streamlining processes and reducing duplication;

*attract and retain more highly skilled staff by building a bigger Trust and a more resilient organisation that is fit for the future;

*improve capacity for clinical trials, innovation and research and ability to attract more investment into the local NHS;

*attract more new graduates and junior doctor trainees into South Tyneside and Sunderland by building on both Trusts’ strong reputations for high quality

education and training.

The trusts also say a potential merger would also place them in a 'very strong position' to support the development of an ‘integrated care partnership’ across South Tyneside, Sunderland and parts of County Durham. serving a combined population of around 675,000.

As well as seeking the views of staff, both Trusts are now inviting patients, members of the public and key stakeholders to give their views on the potential merger by:

*Reading the ‘Stronger Together’ strategic ambition summary, FAQs document and watching a video animation – all available online at www.stft.nhs.uk/together and http://www.chsft.nhs.uk/together
*Completing an online survey/feedback form available at the above links;

*Emailing feedback to: trustcomms@stft.nhs.uk or chscomms@chsft.nhs.uk;

*Writing to the Chief Executive at either of the following addresses:

o Stronger Together c/o Chief Executive, Harton Wing, South Tyneside District Hospital, Harton Lane, South Shields, NE34 0PL

o Stronger Together c/o Chief Executive, Trust Headquarters, Sunderland Royal Hospital , Kayll Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR4 7TP;;

*Registering to attend one of four events being held over the summer as follows (note registration is required via the websites listed above):

o Wednesday 15 August, 6pm – 8pm, Sunderland Royal Hospital

o Friday 17 August, 2pm – 4pm, South Tyneside District Hospital

o Monday 3 September 6pm – 8pm, South Tyneside District Hospital

o Friday 7 September 10.30pm – 12.30pm, Sunderland Royal Hospital

Over the coming weeks, leaders will also be attending a range of formal stakeholder meetings, including meeting with local MPs, to ensure everyone has the opportunity to hear about the ambitions of the Healthcare Group and ask any questions about the proposed merger.

Chief Executive of South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Ken Bremner, said: "Through working together over the past two years we have started to make great strides towards our joint vision to provide nationally recognised, high quality and sustainable healthcare services but we know there is still much more for us to do.

"We firmly believe that a formal merger of our two Trusts will put us in a really strong position for the future, allowing us to further accelerate the pace of positive change and to deliver many more quality improvements for the benefit of both our patients and our staff.

"We are committed to ensuring that the process of our potential merger is fully transparent and reflects the views of colleagues, patients, the public and our stakeholders. I would encourage anyone who lives in South Tyneside and Sunderland to get involved and read our ‘Stronger Together’ ambition to understand what further benefits the merger may bring and to send us their views."

All feedback received by the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group over the next nine weeks will be considered as part of a full business case which is being

developed and expected to be submitted to NHS Improvement, the organisation responsible for overseeing NHS Foundation Trusts, by the end of 2018.