The two NHS trusts providing community mental health, physical health and learning disability services in Gloucestershire are set to merge.

Plans to join both Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust and 2gether NHS Foundation Trust were first announced in September 2017. Since then, the Trusts have been working with NHS Improvement (NHSI) and other partners on the formal process to merge.

On September 9 and 10, the boards of both Trusts and 2gether’s Council of Governors formally sanctioned the merger. The Trust has now received confirmation of support from  Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care for the transaction, and the application to proceed with the transaction has been granted by NHSI.

This means that from Tuesday 1 October 2019, the Trusts will formally become one joint organisation – Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The new organisation will provide all of the community and mental health hospitals in Gloucestershire, as well as mental health inpatient units in Herefordshire. It will also provide a huge range of other community-based services for children, adults and older people – both in community bases and in patients’ own homes.  For a full list of services, please see below.

The more than 5,200 colleagues who work for both Trusts, who include doctors, nurses, therapists, dentists, health care assistants and corporate teams, will work under new organisational and governance structures. However, the vast majority of colleagues will continue in their same roles with minimal disruption to working practices.

Trust Chair, Ingrid Barker, said: “When we embarked on this journey in September 2017 our aim was always to provide more joined up services for people experiencing mental ill health, physical illnesses and learning disabilities.

“That has guided us throughout this process and will continue to guide us as we reshape our services in the coming years.

“Crucially, we are hoping to tackle the inequalities that many people who use our services face. For example, it cannot be right that people with serious mental illnesses die, on average, 15 to 20 years younger than the general population – because of their physical health, rather than their mental health condition.

“Similarly, people with long term physical health conditions face issues with accessing mental health support and people with learning disabilities are also disadvantaged, with poorer health outcomes than our communities generally enjoy.

“It has taken us two years to get to this point, but this is only really the beginning of where we want to get to if we are to really make things better for the people we serve. I am truly grateful to everyone who has worked so hard to make this merger a reality, as well as to our partners and colleagues who have supported us along the way.”

Trust Chief Executive Paul Roberts said: “This is a momentous development for healthcare in Gloucestershire and marks a real commitment to improving services, which is what we always set out to achieve.

“On a practical level, our service users and patients can be assured that they will see no change in the level of service they are receiving now – in fact, we are hoping that services and support will become better.

“Initial changes will include our change of name and obviously this will mean changes to signs, our website, our social media channels, letters we send and identity badges for our colleagues.

“However, we are doing everything we can to ensure that services continue to run exactly as they are now, with no detrimental impact from ‘day one’ as we launch the new Trust.”

NHS Trusts to merge by | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/