Major Manchester hospitals merger cleared by CMA

A merger between the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS FT (CMFT) and University Hospital of South Manchester NHS FT (UHSM) has this week been officially cleared by the Combined Markets Authority (CMA).

In a final report released this week, the CMA concluded that a merger was likely to create more benefits than issues for patients, and so as promised in June, the major reform has now been officially passed.

In particular, CMA officials said that reductions in mortality rates could be achieved through the change, as well as cutting the number of clinical complications and infection rates. People at risk of heart attacks or strokes or those requiring vascular surgery or kidney stone removal were also likely to benefit greatly from the merger.

Combined, the two trusts run nine hospitals in Manchester. USHM looks after Wythenshawe Hospital and Withington Community Hospital, whilst CMFT runs services at Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Altrincham Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, The University Dental Hospital and Trafford General Hospital.

The decision of the CMA was also informed by advice from NHS Improvement, as well as local commissioners, local authorities and the devolved health and social care body in Manchester and NHS England. All parties were behind the plans.

“We have found that this merger will have substantial benefits for the healthcare of patients,” said John Wotton, chair of the Manchester hospitals merger inquiry group.

“Our confidence in this is strengthened by widespread support from commissioners, clinicians and local authorities in Greater Manchester, who have developed a clear shared vision for providing health and social care under devolved powers.”

Wotton also stated that the hospitals involved had presented clear evidence and a well-reasoned case as to how the merger would be beneficial to patients, which NHSI also gave advice on, and this helped the board reach the decision to clear the merger.

“Competition currently plays a limited role in the NHS, as health commissioners and regulators have instead emphasised co-operative working to handle growing demand for NHS services,” Wotton concluded.

Back in May, a document released by the GM health and social care partnership warned that the £27m merger plans could still carry “inherent risk”.

Following the announcement, Kathy Cowell, chairman of CMFT and interim chairman of the Interim Board of Directors for the new trust, said: “We have made strong progress on our journey to demonstrate how creating one trust will benefit patients across our city and the communities we serve.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in getting us to this stage and on track to create the new organisation in October.”

In addition to clearance from the CMA, the merger also needs the approval of the Trusts' Boards of Directors as well as a satisfactory risk rating from NHS Improvement.

Subject to this, the new organisation will be created from CMFT and UHSM from 1 October 2017 and called Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT). The plan is then for North Manchester General Hospital to integrate with the new organisation around 12-18 months later.


Blinky   02/08/2017 at 11:13

This sounds like a bad thing. UHSM offers so much to the residents of South Manchester and this sounds like an excuse to cut services or centralise them in Central Manchester to the detriment of South Manchester.

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