Two hospital trusts announce plans to merge

People have been asked to share their thoughts on plans to merge two hospital trusts.

Worthing Hospital staff celebrating the 'outstanding' rating
Worthing Hospital staff celebrating the 'outstanding' rating

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – which runs Worthing and Southlands hospitals, and St Richard’s in Chichester – and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath – are proposing to become one trust in April next year.

The two organisations, which are both recognised for providing Outstanding care, have been working in partnership with a shared leadership team for nearly four years.

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The new trust would run five hospitals and employ around 20,000 staff, caring for 1.8 million people in Sussex, with a budget of £1.2billion.

Staff celebrating outside St Richard's Hospital

People living locally are invited to share their thoughts about the new trust’s vision and values, as well its aspirations for the future, by completing a short survey at www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk/merger

Chief executive Dame Marianne Griffiths said: “As we move forwards together, our ambition is to always keep improving, and provide excellent care, every time, for our patients.

“Building on the best of each organisation unlocks many opportunities that benefit patients, as well as our staff, partners and communities in Sussex.

“As we develop these plans, please share your thoughts on our vision and values, as well as your hopes and concerns for the new organisation and the services we provide. Thank you.”

Chairman of the trusts’ boards, Alan McCarthy MBE, said: “The pandemic has taught us the value of working together. Being able to provide assistance and share resources was hugely beneficial and as one organisation we’ll be able to do this seamlessly.

“A merger will also enable us to provide the very best clinical services and invest more in new ones, work better with our partners whilst ensuring all our hospitals remain at the heart of the communities they serve.”

In addition to the five hospitals, the two trusts run numerous patient services in satellite sites and community settings across Sussex.

In October, 2019, Western Sussex Hospitals became the first non-specialist acute hospital trust to be awarded ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in all key inspection areas.

At the same time, Brighton and Sussex Univerity Hospitals became the fastest improving acute hospital trust in England and is now rated ‘good’ overall and ‘outstanding’ for caring by the CQC.

Dr George Findlay, deputy chief executive and chief medical officer, said: “This is not a merger driven by financial decisions, it’s driven by a will to keep improving.

“By working together we have greater opportunities to learn and improve our services to make them more sustainable for the local population.

“We can also maintain more specialist services in Sussex, meaning fewer patients have to travel to other hospitals to receive high quality care.”