Posted on Monday 28th May 2012
Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle
The acquisition of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has taken an important step forward as both Trusts signed a Head of Agreement on Friday, setting out the next stages of the transaction.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has now moved from being the ‘preferred bidder’ to formally being the ‘acquiring organisation’. The Trusts are now working together to achieve a deadline to complete the acquisition process by 1 December 2012, although exact timescales will be influenced by a complex regulatory approval process.
The two Trusts have established a Joint Transition Board and the first meeting was held on Tuesday 22 May. The Board will also oversee various project groups to ensure there is a robust integration plan which truly reflects the benefits of working together. The Clinical and Operational group met for the first time this week. This group involves clinicians from both Trusts who will start to share clinical experience and ensure patient care is at the centre of the acquisition process.
There is now a lot of detailed preparation work to do ahead of the acquisition. A key part of this will be involving the local community in north Cumbria. During the summer months, members of the public will be invited to become members of the Foundation Trust and Governors will be nominated and elected. This will give local people the chance to represent north Cumbria in the new organisation.
Dr Neil Goodwin, Interim Chief Executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The signing of the Heads of Agreement is a significant step forward in our acquisition and is excellent news for our staff, our patients and for the people of north Cumbria. I look forward to working with our colleagues in Northumbria over the next few months.
“The formation of the Joint Transition Board allows us to work together to ensure there is an effective and timely transition of services. Furthermore, the project teams which have been set up will be sharing their expertise and working together to form a true partnership which will benefit patients across both counties.”
Jim Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am delighted that we are now in a position to move to the next stages of this acquisition. We will work closely with all stakeholders across North Cumbria to ensure we prepare for integration into one unified organisation focused on delivering a challenging, but achievable ambition, to provide the best health care for the communities we serve.”