Breaking news: Hospital trust merger between King’s Mill and QMC has been cancelled

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The merger between the trusts which run King’s Mill and the QMC hospital has been cancelled.

It has been confirmed that Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (SFH) and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) are no longer pursuing a formal merger and will continue to operate as standalone organisations.

A statement on the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) website states; “Both Trusts remain committed to working in partnership where it adds value to patient care and results in better ways of working.

“The main reason for this decision is the requirement for each organisation to focus on operational challenges.

“For NUH, this is improving 4-hour performance for emergency patients and addressing its financial challenges, whilst SFH will focus on continuing to embed and build on the significant improvements delivered over the past year.”

SFH and NUH are working together with NHS Improvement (the regulator), to determine how the partnership will progress over the next few months and beyond, ensuring alignment with Nottinghamshire’s Sustainability and Transformation Plan, which describes the 5-year strategy for the health and social care system.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Peter Herring said: “Our Trust is in a strong position, having put in place arrangements to strengthen the organisation and its activities over the past 12 months. We have significantly improved the quality of patient care, with many areas now recognised as being best practice.

“Over the past year we have delivered significant improvements at SFH, and this was acknowledged by the CQC in their recent inspection – we look forward to the publication of the report later this month. These changes were driven by the leadership team currently in place, so we have every confidence that this excellent work will continue.

“Improvements include:

• We are one of the best-performing trusts for the management and screening of the potentially fatal condition sepsis

• Cases of C. Difficile infections have been reduced by a third each year for the past two years, and in September we saw zero cases which is relatively unusual for any trust

• The Trust’s Hospitalised Standardised Mortality Ratio – the way hospitals measure mortality - is much better than the national average and continues to improve further thanks to sustained efforts to improve the quality of our services

• King’s Mill’s emergency department is one of the best performing in England, and for the whole of quarter two this year we achieved the national target of seeing and treating 95% of patients arriving at our Emergency Department within four hours.

“We are committed to a strategic partnership with NUH and, despite the decision taken not to merge and we want to build on the excellent work undertaken to align our clinical services, which has resulted in more efficient and higher quality patient care across both organisations.”

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero said: “My priority is that the people of Ashfield have access to good quality healthcare services.

“Sherwood Forest Hospitals has made important improvements in the care it offers in recent months but having stable management in place is key to ensuring that it provides the high standards of care that local people demand and expect.

“There have been far too many changes at the top and this has resulted in many of the high profile problems the Trust has had.

“I will be seeking assurances from the current management team about what will happen next now the merger has been called off.”

Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Independents member for Sutton North, which includes King’s Mill, said :”I think this is very uneasy.

King’s Mill and Sherwood Forest hospitals Trust were so financially unstable in the first place.

“If they can’t manage services to the level people expect them to now what happens now ?

“We are not talking about street cleaning here - I know a lady with cancer who has to get two buses from Skegby to QMC .

“This will have a huge effect on the quality of peoples’ lives if they don’t get this right.

“We can’t simply go back to where they were before.”

He said he would raise questions at a meeting of the full county council .

Coun Zadrozny added; “PFI is a noose around the hospital and trust and nobody wants to take it on.

Questions need to be asked and the Government to take some of the liability , otherwise we will end up on a skeleton service.

“What will King’s Mill be like in 10 years time?”

More when we have it.