The Boards of Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have agreed that the two organisations will explore joining together on a more formal basis. Both Boards have agreed that this process must be based on the premise that any new arrangement is beneficial to people in all the communities served by both Trusts and this premise is supported by NHS regulators.
Suzanne Tracey, joint chief executive of NDHT and the RD&E, said: “The starting point for both organisations is the clear view that wherever you live – whether that is in rural Northern Devon, in the centre of Exeter, or on the borders of Somerset and Cornwall – we have a shared duty, as part of the National Health Service, to ensure that people have good access to high quality care and, in particular, A&E and supporting services when they need them.
“We recognise that both organisations face some significant challenges. We both need to transform with the use of technology and recruit and retain the workforce needed to deliver high quality services to our patients. We both need to improve our performance against some of the key targets on accessing health services. We need to do this in a clinically and financially sustainable way.
“That is why we now need to explore whether working together on a more formal basis provides us with a better opportunity to address these challenges, making the best use of our collective resources to meet the health needs of the local population. Clearly, any new arrangement between the two organisations must be appropriately supported by NHS Improvement/NHS England.”
The Boards of both organisations will now work together to determine the next steps. The organisations have agreed that a Collaborative Agreement should be extended beyond June 2020 to allow the appropriate processes, including conversations with NHS regulators, to be completed. The Trusts have emphasised their commitment to keeping staff and the community informed and engaged as this process develops.
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