A merger between the trusts which Peterborough City Hospital and Hinchingbrooke Hospital has been recommended.
An ‘Outline Business Case’, which has been published on both trusts’ websites, will be discussed by each trust’s board of directors next week.
The document states that a merger would ‘sustain and improve services for patients and the taxpayer’.
The boards will separately decide in public meetings whether or not to accept the recommendations made in the Outline Business Case and how to progress from there.
In a joint statement, the two chief executives of the hospital trusts, Lance McCarthy of Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust and Stephen Graves of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Outline Business Case has been compiled following extensive engagement with both the clinical and non-clinical teams in both organisations in the past five months.
“All four options have been tested in a rigorous appraisal process carried out by the CEOs, chief nurses and medical directors of both trusts. The recommended option is to work as one organisation and merge our two trusts on April 1 2017.
“If the boards of each trust approve the recommended option, the next step will be to produce a Full Business Case to set out how it will be put into operation.
“Both trusts are committed to engaging with members of the public to help inform a Full Business Case which will be completed by the end of September 2016.”
The business case has been developed since January 2016 and explores the clinical benefits of the two trusts working together and what it might mean for both patients and staff.
The work does not recommend changing services at either hospital but shows that there is £9 million of savings a year, primarily in back office services.
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said: “I think that it is essential that the two hospitals work together as one governance organisation and that the collaboration will bring efficiencies that will preserve clinical expertise, patient care and the long term viability.
“Local people don’t care who’s in charge as long as they get good quality and timely treatment.
“I am satisfied that medical services will be unaffected by these changes and I’ll be liaising closely with senior managers and with ministers to protect and enhance both hospitals’ futures.”
North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “I am a firm believer in preventing duplication of work so the £9 million savings is to be welcomed. However, it is important that services remain available at both hospitals, especially Accident and Emergency and Maternity Services.
“I will be making that point abundantly clear to the new trust and I am sure many others will do likewise. Savings should come from back up services and not from front line services.”
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly said: “I note the recommendations that will be going to next week’s board meeting but my position remains that a full merger between the two hospital trusts is of great concern to local residents.
“I am due to meet the chairman of Peterborough Hospital this Friday and will be attending Monday’s board meeting at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. I will also be submitting a copy of my petition to the chairman of board which to date has 6,000 signatures opposing a merger.”
The Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust board will meet at 11am in the Partnership Suite at Hinchingbrooke Hospital on Monday, May 23 to discuss the outline case for merging.
The following day, the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board will meet at 1.30pm in the Board Room at Peterborough City Hospital.
Members of the public and trust staff are able to attend both meetings.
The four options which were debated for the Outline Business Case were:
Option 1 - Do nothing for now
Option 2 - Shared back office function
Option 3 - As per option 2, plus two boards, one executive team and one operational organisation
Option 4 - One organisation