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Ipswich and Colchester hospitals officially merge

PUBLISHED: 06:00 02 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:37 02 July 2018

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are merging. Pictured is Nick Hulme, chief executive of both trusts Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals are merging. Pictured is Nick Hulme, chief executive of both trusts Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Two hospitals have officially merged in a momentous move to create the largest NHS trust in East Anglia.

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals' managing director, Neill Moloney Picture: ANDY ABBOTTIpswich and Colchester hospitals' managing director, Neill Moloney Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Ipswich and Colchester hospitals will now start working together under the umbrella of East Suffolk and North East Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

The key aims of the merger are to help the hospitals retain and improve services and offer more to patients locally, to save cash by sharing back office functions and to tackle challenges around staffing.

Managing director Neill Moloney said: “I just think it’s a really exciting opportunity and there’s a real buzz around the organisation now I think people are really keen on this, they are really excited about the opportunities that this provides.”

Mr Moloney added over the next six months leaders would be developing a new clinical strategy for the joint trust.

When asked if this could involve moving services between sites, Mr Moloney said that would only happen if there was a “compelling reason” and following public consultation.

He added: “We certainly wouldn’t do anything that wouldn’t be in the best interest of patients.”

The only services promised to stay separated at both sites are A&E, maternity and acute care.

A new joint leadership team has been created for the trust, which meant managers had to reapply for their jobs in the lead up to the merger.

While assuring no redundancies had been made, Mr Moloney said a small number of the managers had chosen to leave during the process.

Mr Moloney said the most recent funding announcements from the Government showed the trust was still facing a “gap”.

To address the shortfall, Mr Moloney said the hospitals were looking at ways to change the way they delivered care, such as utilising new technologies.

He added the new trust aspired to cut down waiting times and ensure patients were able to discharge home sooner.

The business case for the merger includes plans to break even financially in five years’ time.

Mr Moloney shut down criticism that the merger had been pushed through too quickly and said there had been “extensive” engagement with stakeholders and staff.

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