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.”