The competition regulator has cleared the proposal for an NHS merger that will create one of the largest university hospital trusts in the North of England.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is responsible for assessing the impact of the merger on patient choice, has cleared the proposal which will see the merger of Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.
They concluded that the merger would not result in a loss of choice for patients.
Merging should ensure patients receive consistent care wherever they are treated and will enable easier sharing of patient information for those receiving care from multiple services which are currently provided by separate trusts.
The decision follows the completion of a Phase 1 inquiry by the CMA, which saw it review a detailed proposal that was submitted by the trusts in June 2019.
The development of the proposal was led by doctors, nurses and health professionals who believe they can improve patient care by becoming one organisation that would be responsible for managing services at Aintree University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool University Dental Hospital and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
Clearing the CMA process is a significant step towards merger. The proposal for the new organisation, which will be called Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will now be considered by NHS Improvement, and the trusts are expected to merge formally in October 2019.
Steve Warburton, who is currently Chief Executive of Aintree University Hospital and was recently appointed to lead the new merged organisation, said: “I am delighted that the CMA has approved our proposal. By merging, we can work collaboratively to improve quality and consistency of care for our patients and to attract and retain the best staff. This is great news for our staff and our patients.”
Sue Musson, who is Chair of the Interim Board of the proposed Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an exciting step towards completing the merger of our organisations, which I believe will help us tackle the health issues that are prevalent within our area, provide consistently high quality care and make Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the best place to work for all our staff."
Sue will become the substantive Chair of the Board at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust from 1st September until the merger takes place, and Steve will take up the role of Chief Executive of both trusts, also from 1st September.
Full details of the CMA’s merger investigation are available on its dedicated case page here.