Sussex hospitals merger approved

The landmark merger of Western Sussex Hospitals and Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals has been given the green light.

The merger will see the best of both trusts brought together to create a new, larger organisation called University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust (UHSussex) which will further improve hospital services for patients in Sussex.

A strategic outline case for the merger was approved in September 2020 and it was in response to the submission of a full business case (FBC) that NHSEI wrote to the trusts on 9 March 2021 to provide a formal merger risk rating of Green (strategy) and Amber/Green (quality, finance and transaction execution).

The two trusts have been working together for four years under a joint management contract that expires on 31 March 2021. During this time, BSUH has become the fastest improving acute hospital trust in England, emerging from special measures and earning a Care Quality Commission rating of Good overall and Outstanding for caring. WSHT meanwhile maintained its own Outstanding status and also became the first non-specialist acute trust to achieve Outstanding ratings in all key inspection areas.

University Hospitals Sussex will employ nearly 20,000 people across five main hospital sites in Sussex, with an operating budget of more than £1 billion.  It will run seven hospitals in Chichester, Worthing, Shoreham, Haywards Health and Brighton and Hove, as well as numerous community and satellite services.

Dame Marianne Griffiths, chief executive, said: “This is a momentous day for healthcare in Sussex. As both a university hospital and foundation trust, we will have all the tools we need to develop outstanding services for our communities, offer exciting new career opportunities for our colleagues and continue to put local people at the heart of our decisions and plans.

“The recent success of both trusts has given us a great foundation to build on and we have seen the enormous advantages of working more closely together through the partnership we have built over the last four years. Those benefits have been underlined by the challenges of the COVID pandemic, and we know we can do great things together that we could not achieve alone.

“We will continue to invest in all our vibrant hospitals and all the services we currently provide, including emergency, specialist, tertiary and trauma care. We will continue to work closely with academic partners like the Brighton and Sussex Medical School to build on our existing reputation as a centre of excellence for training and education. And our new five year clinical strategy will explore where we can make the best improvements for our patients and develop new services that ensure fewer people in Sussex have to travel elsewhere for high quality hospital care.”

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