Yesterday (28th January) the Boards of both Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust approved the full business case and financial plans for the proposed merger. The decision was made by each Board independently at their respective board meetings.
Chief Executive of Ashford & St Peter's Hospitals, Suzanne Rankin, said: "The decision made by our Boards this week brings the proposed merger of our two hospital trusts another step closer. We are delighted that both Boards are in agreement and have approved the detailed plans which describe how the new organisation would operate over the next few years. The proposed merger is based around securing a stronger future for our two organisations which is imperative if we are to continue to provide high quality, acute care for patients across West Surrey."
The next step in the formal process will be a detailed assessment by Monitor the health sector regulator, and at a later stage, final approvals from Boards and Councils of Governors. In the meantime, both Boards have agreed to work collaboratively to address current operational and financial challenges ahead of a formal start date.
Peter Dunt, Chief Executive of the Royal Surrey County Hospital, added: "Whilst there is still a lot of hard work to do and important decisions to make, today's announcement marks an important milestone in our planning. Both Boards have spent considerable time and energy scrutinising these plans to ensure they are fit for purpose and will ensure a new organisation that is sustainable and successful for our patients. We are now looking forward to talking much more widely about our plans with staff and the wider public and hope that as many people as possible will engage with us over the next few months."
Subject to full regulatory, Board and Governor approvals the earliest start date for the proposed new organisation would be Summer 2016.