One NHS for Somerset too?

Just as Somerset looks destined to be turned into one or two unitary councils, so too Somerset’s NHS. The merger of the county’s mental health trust and Musgrove hospital on 1 April 2020 started that process. It put community hospitals, mental health services and a full 600 bed hospital at Taunton under one management. The new Trust was titled Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (Somerset FT).

Now, in a much anticipated move, the process may go one step further with the inclusion of Yeovil District Hospital too. This morning it was announced that a merger is on the cards. The boards of Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Yeovil Hospital FT) and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (Somerset FT) are working towards this goal. They have agreed to develop the strategic case. It will be the logical conclusion of an attempt to bring together the disparate NHS services in Somerset. The vision is to create one single NHS provider trust for Somerset. That the trusts believe will better support the health and care needs of the local population.

Most importantly, the move appears to have the backing of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group. They are important as they dispense the cash that pays for the NHS in Somerset. James Rimmer, Chief Executive, explains “We know that to truly make a difference to the lives of people in Somerset we need to change the way we work.”

5 comments

  • My only worry is it will go the way of the Hospice – no beds in Yeovil, all centred around Taunton.

  • This could release funds from back office savings, as long as CEO and management salaries are not inflated!

  • For real efficiency get rid of one load of management .

  • And if anyone seriously thinks this will improve care, or do anything positive for Somerset population I think you will find yourselves very disappointed. Hopefully the technology for meetings will mean not everyone spends time travelling from one place to the other, that will be a new bonus that has not happened in previous mergers – but a hospital needs someone on site to understand what is going on, and to mange it properly. Mergers take top staff’s time away from doing the day job, when the merger eventually happens and half the top staff no longer have a job, the existing staff now have a job twice the size and it was undoable in the first instance. So they will need at least one if not 2 deputies- because they are spread across 2+ hospitals + all the community hospitals + community services. The staff who were expert in MH are not expert in a General Hospital and vice versa.
    The NHS has been bedevilled by mergers and reorganisations instead of learning how to actually improve the service. My bet is that at the end of all this there will be poorer service and no savings.

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