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26.02.18

Bedford trusts ‘currently not in a position’ to meet April merger deadline

Two Bedfordshire trusts have been forced to delay a planned merger because financial agreements which would facilitate the move are not yet in place.

While both Bedford Hospital Trust and Luton and Dunstable (L&D) University Hospital Trust have already made an agreement with NHS Improvement (NHSI), the two say they will not be able to reach the targeted 1 April merger date.

In a statement to the stakeholders of both trusts, officials detailed the issues and said they would not know the full availability of capital until Summer 2018.

“We are currently not in a position to enable this to happen as the financial agreements that will ensure the new organisation has a strong foundation are not yet in place,” the statement reads.

“We remain optimistic that any outstanding matters can be resolved but we now know that we won't have confirmation of the availability of capital until the next round of national funding is announced in Summer 2018.”

It goes on to say that the trusts will seek further meetings with NHSI in June to review progress but will continue to work on the merger between now and then.

“In the meantime, the plans for the merger will continue with priorities being the development of the IT and pathology functions of the two trusts,” they explained.

“The joint Integration Board, consisting of executive representatives from both trusts, will continue to lead the integration preparations with the support of both trust boards.”

An integration director has now been appointed to lead the merger, which could see Bedford Hospital’s £40m deficit written off.

The trust, which received a ‘requires improvement’ rating from the CQC last year, has suffered with staffing concerns and patient safety in recent years, and it is hoped that the merger could go some way towards fixing the problems.

Top image: Chris Radburn PA Archive

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