Northampton and Kettering hospitals merger is not a 'solution'

Dr Sonia Swart Dr Sonia Swart becomes chief executive with immediate effect

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A hospital merger plan that led a chief executive to quit is "not the best solution" for Northamptonshire, health chiefs have said.

Dr Gerry McSorley left Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust (NGH) in March after the board began to explore a partnership with Kettering General.

Acting chief executive Dr Sonia Swart has now been put in charge permanently.

A NGH spokesman said the hospitals would continue to look at ways to work together on changing services.

"It has been agreed with regulators that a merger would not be the best solution for NGH to achieve a sustainable future and deliver safe, high quality services for patients," said the spokesman.

"Both trusts have been collaborating for a number of years. We will continue to explore further options."

Dr McSorley, who was involved in the transfer of Hinchingbrooke Hospital to the private sector, had said he did not want to go through a similar exercise at NGH.

It was announced this week that Dr Swart, who has worked as a consultant and was the trust's medical director, would replace Dr McSorley.

Northampton General has suffered staff shortages, especially in accident and emergency.

In August, Kettering General Hospital's chief executive stepped down after the hospital failed to meet government targets for accident and emergency treatment.

Lorene Read said she believed she needed to accept "ultimate responsibility" for the performance.

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