Two trusts have started talks over merging as they set their sights on delivering ‘truly integrated’ health and care services for residents.
It would see Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WHHFT) and Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BCHFT) come together to form a single organisation.
WHHFT chief executive Mel Pickup says the trust is working with BCHFT to bring hospital and community services together to provide better outcomes for the shared patient populations.
She believes the changes will mean an ‘easier, more seamless transition’ between services, along with access to ‘higher quality’ care and treatments.
“This integration secures acute and community healthcare services for the populations of Warrington, Halton and beyond through long-term sustainability that will deliver real value for money benefits for the taxpayer,” she said.
“Most importantly, it will improve the health outcomes and experience of our patients and service users.
“Our staff are key to this integration for patients and we intend for our future workforce to be happy, healthy and inspired through access to better equipment, locations and environment; more career opportunities and development and improved recruitment and retention.”
The NHS long-term plan, which was published in January, promotes models of collaboration with the ‘breaking down’ of barriers between primary and community and acute care.
In line with the direction of the plan, the two organisations say they have an ambition to develop true sustainable integrated care.
Both boards also share the belief that there are opportunities to collaborate in developing ‘place-based models of care’ in both Halton and Warrington.
Ms Pickup added: “We are at the earliest stages of our partnership and are focused on integration of hospital and community services on the ground rather than on the ‘form’ that our partnership will take and will be looking to work more closely with other local partners to deliver truly integrated health and care services for the people of both Warrington and Halton.
“This is just the start of a whole-system move towards the implementation of the NHS long-term plan.”