At the end of September the boards from Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust decided to go ahead to the next stage after a detailed feasibility study carried out over the past few months.
Senior clinicians believe there are significant benefits to patients by bringing the trusts together as one organisation. The idea behind integration is to safeguard services and build upon the range and quality of services already offered to local people. Both hospitals will continue to provide full accident and emergency, maternity, children’s and outpatients’ services.
The trusts also believe that integration would ensure the sustainability of services and allow them to do more within the budgets they have. Detailed plans will now be drawn up and will need to be submitted to several organisations, including the Department of Health and Monitor, the regulator of NHS foundation trusts.
The process is expected to take about a year, with the trusts hoping to become one by summer next year.
For more information visit www.medway.nhs.uk