WIRRAL and Chester’s main hospitals are coming together to find ways of offering joint services to patients.
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Countess of Chester announced they are forming a partnership to look at ways of offering treatments together.
Len Richards, Wirral Hospital chief executive, said it was “too early to tell what the ultimate configuration will be” but insisted they intend to continue to maintain “two very high- quality district general hospitals at Arrowe Park and Chester”.
The two hospitals have formed a “Joint Collaboration Board to explore all potential opportunities to work closely together in both clinical and non-clinical areas”.
They say the aim is to develop safe, high-quality services for patients.
Mr Richards said: “We are looking at a number of specialities, and we are getting clinical staff from those areas to think about what would be the ideal configuration.”
He said they were looking to see if duplication could be avoided.
The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is a 580-bed hospital on the outskirts of Chester.
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is one of the biggest NHS Trusts in the region, with a workforce of almost 6,000 staff. It has sites at Arrowe Park Hospital in Upton, Clatterbridge Hospital in Bebington, as well as smaller sites in Wallasey and Birkenhead. Mr Richards said: “By working together, there may be more efficient ways of doing that which allows us to develop specialist services. Maybe patients will not have to travel into Liverpool.”
However, he added: “We cannot be explicit about the future pattern of services and the potential impact on staff in Chester and Wirral.”
The two hospitals already work together in some specialisms, including nephrology – kidney diseases – and now hope to build on their relationship.
Peter Herring, Countess of Chester Hospital Chief Executive, welcomed the plans, but added: “We can confirm that there are no plans for merger between the Countess of Chester and Wirral Hospital.”