THE merger between Scarborough Health Trust and York NHS Foundation Trust has moved a step closer.
The case for the Scarborough trust, who control Bridlington Hospital, joining York Foundation Trust is now being considered by the Co-operation and Competition Panel, with a final decision expected in April next year.
The panel has formally accepted the case and will now look at submissions from both trusts.
They will consider the costs and benefits of the merger to patients and taxpayers and assess how the changes will affect patient choice and competition for healthcare services in the area.
Mike Proctor, chief executive of Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Work is progressing to plan towards integration.
“Our submission to the panel presents one of the hurdles we need to clear in this process, and we hope to convince them of the significant benefits that this integration would bring for the population we serve.”
The move has also been welcomed by Geoff Pearson, chairman of East Riding of Yorkshire Local Involvement Network (ERYLINk), an organisation which represents patients, as well as Jean Wormwell of the Pensioner Action Group East Riding (PAGER).
In a joint statement, they said: “The decision is supported by ERYLINk who have been working closely with PAGER to ensure that the people affected by this merger in the East Riding have been receiving the most up to date information and the opportunity to ask questions directly to the managers of the two Trusts during public meetings held in Bridlington.
“This decision takes the merger a step closer but there are still hurdles to get over and the financial situation faced by SNEY is one of them.
“It is important that the Trusts keep the local residents up to date with what is happening and be clear about the lengthy approval process that still has to be gone through.
“We believe that this is a good development and continue to support the work that is taking place to develop the services provided by the Trusts.”
The next public meeting regarding Bridlington hospital and the proposed merger, organised by ERYLINk, will be held at Bridlington Spa on January 23 next year, at 6.30pm.
The Cooperation and Competition Panel is welcoming submissions from interested individuals and organisations on the proposed merger - to do so, email email@example.com by the deadline of November 7.