A DEEPER and more formal partnership between Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT) and South Warwickshire NHS FT (SWFT), will allow both groups to punch above their weight in terms of quality of services.

That is the belief of Glen Burley who has been chief executive of SWFT for more than 10 years and also took on the role at WVT when the Trusts formed a strategic partnership at the end of last year.

He said that by bringing the two Trusts together to form a new “Foundation Group”, it will streamline the way the Trusts learn from each other and allow them both to benefit from the economies of scale they miss out on as they are both fairly small NHS Trusts.

Mr Burley said: “To further develop this partnership, and to help both trusts tackle the sustainability challenges faced by the NHS, our organisations must look at new ways of working to ensure we can deliver high quality health and care services for our local population.”

However, he stressed that this was not a merger of the two Trusts as each will retain its local accountability and uniqueness.

“As we move forward it’s important to understand key strengths for both organisations; they are small, local and able to respond effectively to the needs of our communities," he added.

"To achieve integrated services between primary, community, acute and social care we need to retain our ability to operate at this local level with our individual organisational culture and leadership.

“To protect and enhance these elements of our organisations we will put in place a new structure that will bring WVT and SWFT together in a more formal way, to maximise the opportunities available from being part of a wider group while retaining the ability to operate at a local level.”

The new structure is called a “Foundation Group” which will appoint a joint board committee with board directors from WVT and SWFT.

“It’s important to note that both Trusts will retain their own Boards and there will be no direct impact for the majority of staff," Mr Burley said.

"However, the new structure will strengthen our position within the NHS and will ensure we can continue to operate as two separate trusts to deliver the best possible services for our patients and service users.”