Search for Shropshire health trust partner is delayed
The process to find a new partner for a health trust running community hospitals and services in Shropshire has been delayed.
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust is expected to be acquired by another organisation this year.
Two trusts are in the frame – Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
A final decision was expected to be taken at a trust board meeting later this month but the trust has revealed it will now be delayed.
The process is being led by NHS Improvement, but the regulator has now asked for more time to evaluate the submissions made by the two organisations on the shortlist.
Mike Ridley, chairman of Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, said: “We have always been clear that this was all about doing the right thing for the long-term – and that we need to be part of something bigger if we are to sustain, to develop and to grow community services in the future.
“We need to partner with an acquiring organisation that is robust financially as well as having a strong track record of quality and transformation.
“But we are not an organisation in any kind of distress.
"NHS Improvement have stated their full confidence in us to go on delivering our services to the same high standard that we always have.
"Indeed, it is their confidence in us that makes them comfortable with taking more time over evaluating all the material they have collated.
“We look forward to agreeing a new timetable with them and bringing this process to a successful conclusion.”
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust was formed after the merger of Shropshire County Primary Care Trust and Telford and Wrekin Primary Care Trust in 2011.
It provides a range of community-based health services for adults and children in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, and some services to people in surrounding areas.
Its services range from district nursing and health visiting, to physiotherapy and specialist community clinics.
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust also runs community hospitals in Bishop’s Castle, Bridgnorth, Ludlow and Whitchurch.
Trust board members unanimously voted to support the proposal to merge with a bigger health provider at a meeting in 2016.
NHS Improvement says it is a management reorganisation so will not impact on the way current services are delivered.