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Could mental health and community health trusts merge?

Josie Spencer, chief executive at NCHC, and Antek Lejk, chief executive at NSFT. Photo: NCHC/NSFT

Josie Spencer, chief executive at NCHC, and Antek Lejk, chief executive at NSFT. Photo: NCHC/NSFT

NCHC/NSFT

One of the county’s worst performing healthcare trusts could merge with Norfolk’s best in a bid to bring together care in the community.

Documents prepared ahead of a board meetings of the region’s mental health trust, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT), and Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) last month said the two trusts and Norfolk County Council (NCC) wanted to bring a “greater degree of formality” to the way the three organisations worked together.

And bosses were looking at the form this could take, including shared posts or even a merger.

The aim was to “maintain clinically and financially sustainable services” as the whole Norfolk health system looked to work more closely together.

Josie Spencer, chief executive at NCHC, and Antek Lejk, chief executive at NSFT, said in a joint statement: “Our vision is to improve the quality of people’s lives, in their homes and community, by providing the best in integrated mental and physical health and social care.

“Working more closely will enable us to maintain clinically and financially sustainable services that are centred around the needs of our service users and patients, helping to support how we care for the same individuals. Our organisations have service users in common and it is our joint ambition that the care we deliver is the best it can be and is consistent across the local NHS.

“Our patients will benefit from a more effective and co-ordinated service, allowing them to tell their story fewer times while receiving high quality care from a more integrated service.”

The three organisations will work together especially with children and young people, and the elderly, plus bringing together physical and mental health.

And plans would be developed for a “formal integration” of services between NCC and NSFT.

While NSFT was judged as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission last month for the third time, NCHC was last year judged as outstanding.

Before moving to NCHC Ms Spencer was on a six-month secondment as deputy chief executive and chief operating officer at NSFT.

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