Why we want to merge with Somerset Partnership

Why we want to merge with Somerset Partnership

Why we want to merge Somerset Partnership and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trusts

Over the past 18 months Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which primarily runs community services, community hospitals, mental health and learning disabilities services, has been working closely in an alliance with Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, the organisation that runs Musgrove Park Hospital.

The two trusts now want to merge so we can make healthcare services even better for the people of Somerset. We believe that by merging we can deliver better care and health outcomes, and improve the experience of patients and their families when they use our services.

The merger will also improve staffing resilience, with more opportunities for healthcare staff to work across a greater range of services, and that will help us to recruit new staff and retain existing staff. We will secure the long term future of our services by creating a single, streamlined trust that can save on overheads and direct more funding to frontline care. Since we agreed to work towards a merger, our staff have been working in a number of clinical areas to make things better for patients – read more in the strategic case for merger document - below.

By working closely together we have been able to respond to the challenges we are seeing in Somerset and across the South West. For example:

  • Rising demand for health services in Somerset where a high proportion of the population is age 65 and over - this age group is growing, some with multiple health conditions
  • Workforce gaps – both nursing and medical staff
  • Overall, the Somerset financial system is in deficit and it is likely that all organisations will have financial challenges in the coming years
  • Over-reliance on providing inpatient hospital care, which is not always best for the patient
  • Historic underinvestment in community and mental health services in the county

We believe that by merging our two trusts we will be able to address these challenges even more effectively than we are able to while we remain separate organisations.

In July 2018, we submitted our strategic case for merger to the regulator NHS Improvement. This was the first formal stage in our application to merge. This month we had formal feedback from NHS Improvement, which confirmed our proposed merger may move to next stage, where we will prepare detailed plans for merging the trusts. In  particular, we will develop the clinical model that shows the benefits to patients, and we will work with our health and social care partners in Somerset to make sure our plans for joined up patient care fits with the overall vision for healthcare in Somerset.

We are keen to involve patients, carers, local organisations and members of the public as we re-design services for the merged trust– keep an eye on this website for more details. We will also publicise through the local media and social media (Twitter and Facebook)

There are four versions of our strategic case, they are: ‘long read’, ‘ short read’, ‘easy read’, and a one-page infographic.