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02.11.16

Derbyshire trusts announce ‘parity of esteem’ merger

Two Derbyshire trusts have announced a merger to deliver parity of esteem between physical and mental healthcare in the region.

At meetings on 28 October, the boards of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS FT (DCHS) and Derbyshire Healthcare NHS FT (DHCFT), agreed to further explore the preferred option of a full merger between their organisations.

Under the plans, DCHS, which provides physical healthcare in the community, would formally acquire DHCFT, the provider of mental health services in the county.

Ifti Majid, acting chief executive of DHCFT, said the agreement by both boards aims to result in genuine parity of esteem across Derbyshire, treating physical and mental health conditions equally.

“The trusts are committed to the creation of a new organisation, balanced to reflect the scope and specialties of the services provided, through the creation of a shared culture and values,” he added.

DCHS chief executive Tracy Allen noted that the decision marks a significant development for the people of Derbyshire, “as we seek to look beyond current organisational structures to provide the best care we can to local residents”.

“We are aware that many people currently receive care from both organisations and there are clear benefits in aligning our services to make sure people receive consistent and joined-up care, to support both their physical and mental health needs,” she said.

“The options we have considered to date have been based on a clinical case for change and we look forward to further exploring this recommendation with our stakeholders to ensure the right decision is taken for the people of Derbyshire.”

In March, a report from the King’s Fund warned that there is a high degree of co-morbidity between mental and physical illness and treating the two conditions separately is “no longer affordable”.

The trusts will now engage with their governors and stakeholders to develop an outline business case and then a full business case for the merger.

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