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Survey launched on new name for merged Colchester and Ipswich hospital trust

PUBLISHED: 18:10 21 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:51 22 December 2017

A final decision on whether to merge Ipswich and Colchester hospitals will be made in June next year. Picture: ARCHANT

A final decision on whether to merge Ipswich and Colchester hospitals will be made in June next year. Picture: ARCHANT

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The potential names for a merged Colchester and Ipswich hospital trust have been revealed.

A survey has been launched asking the public whether they think the combined organisation should be called: Colchester and Ipswich NHS Foundation Trust, or East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

The choice is restricted by national NHS guidelines and these are the only two options up for consideration.

This title will only be used for the over-arching trust and both sites remain Ipswich Hospital and Colchester General Hospital.

Bosses say they will take the views of staff, patients, partners, members of the public and supporters into account before deciding on the new name of the trust in the spring.

The MPs for Ipswich and Colchester have both expressed no preference about the name, as long as the merger works for patients.

Sandy Martin, who represents Ipswich, said: “I think whether it will be good for Ipswich depends on what specialisms and services are in Ipswich Hospital, I don’t think the name enters into it.

“My meeting with the chief executive at Ipswich Hospital led me to believe that services for Ipswich people will probably be better as a result of the merger.

“If it does go ahead, I will obviously be interested in what happens going forward to make sure that’s the case. If that is the case, I see no point in opposing the merger.”

Colchester’s Will Quince shared similar views.

He said: “I’m broadly supportive of the merger, I think it’s working so far. Of course we are keeping a watchful brief of it.

“The name of the trust is somewhat irrelevant because we are always going to have Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.

“The two trusts are right to recognise that they serve a much wider population, so I’m relatively relaxed about the name.”

One of the biggest changes to Ipswich Hospital highlighted by the survey is the fact it will become a foundation trust.

Generally, foundation trusts are still part of the NHS and subject to the same standards, but they are free from central government control.

Staff and patients have a greater say in the running of the hospital, and foundation trusts are led by a democratically elected Board of Governors.

Colchester Hospital became a foundation trust in 2008.

A detailed business case for the merger is currently being drawn up, with a final decision due to be made in June 2018.

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