A ‘vanguard’ relationship between Guy’s and St Thomas’ with Dartford and Gravesham hospitals is set to become the prototype for the creation of new hospital ‘chains’ across England.
NHS England, which runs the health service, has announced that new chains between hospitals could see specialist equipment and staff shared between various NHS trusts.
A “five-year-forward-view” to apply this idea across the country began with a successful trial on Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT), and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust in January 2015.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said the plan would benefit patients because it would see some of the NHS’s best hospitals delivering services “inside” others.
A spokesperson for GSTT said: “Clinicians across vascular, cardiology and children’s services are working to consider what more they could do to improve patient care and test how beneficial the Foundation Healthcare Group could be for patients, clinicians and the sustainability of local services.
“For example, Dartford and Gravesham is working with Evelina London Children’s Hospital – part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ – to bring specialist care closer to home for families.
“Care will be co-ordinated by specialist teams to offer the best experience and results for children and families, no matter where they live, while ensuring local services are supported and financially sustainable.”
Amanda Pritchard, chief exec of GSTT said the announcement might be an opportunity to “extend” the collaboration to include other health care providers in future.
“We see this as complementary to our ongoing commitment to work closely with our partners here in south east London, and from further afield,” Ms Pritchard said.
A statement on the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust website states that for patients in Kent, it means “fewer trips to hospitals with cancer and dementia specialists”.
NHS England hopes the merge will “improve outcomes and access, reduce costs,” while innovating to meet to “meet increasing demand”.