The Trust Boards and Councils of Governors of South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (SEPT) and North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation NHS Trust (NEP) have approved the proposed merger of the Trusts. Both Trusts will be dissolved on 31 March 2017 and will be replaced by the new Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (or EPUT, for short) from 1 April 2017.
This is the first merger between two NHS Foundation Trusts under the current rules. It is a significant achievement by both Trusts to help secure the future provision of local mental health and community health services.
When making the decision to merge, the Trusts took into account the green risk rating awarded to the proposals by their external regulator, NHS Improvement (NHSI). This is the best risk rating possible and follows a review by NHSI of the plans and the process over the past few months.
Sally Morris, Chief Executive of SEPT and Chief Executive of EPUT’s Interim Board said: “The result has only been made possible through the tremendous amount of hard work by very many of our staff, patients, carers and the support of our NHS and local authority partners and we are extremely grateful to everyone involved.
“The merger is an excellent outcome for local people who rely on our services. We have said from the start that we would be stronger together. Now we can harness the real enthusiasm we have to take the best from both organisations to deliver sustainable and transformative mental health, learning disabilities and community health services for the benefit of people in Essex and Bedfordshire”.
There will be no immediate changes to services. It will be “business as usual” for service users and carers for the foreseeable future. Clinicians from both current Trusts are working together with commissioners and people with lived experience to develop a proposed new clinical model for Essex-wide mental health services. Any changes to current services proposed by this model are likely to be subject to formal consultation.
Chris Butler, the Interim Chief Executive of NEP said: “In coming together both Trusts have put first what serves the best long term interests of people with mental health problems and those who care for them. I am absolutely convinced that the merger will ensure the sustainability of mental health services for the people of Essex. People will see no disruption in the services they receive, but the merger is a great springboard to develop with our partners ever better health and social care services.”