Oxfordshire hospital trusts plan merger

The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford The hospitals would retain their identities and specialist services

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Services at two Oxfordshire hospital trusts are to be merged under plans to create a single NHS foundation trust.

Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals (ORH) and the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) will continue to provide the same specialist services under the plans.

Both trusts held board meetings in the last week where they agreed to explore options to create an integrated organisation under a new name.

The trusts' boards hope to achieve foundation status within three years.

'Greater resilience'

Foundation trusts generally have greater managerial and financial freedom than other NHS trusts.

A spokeswoman for ORH said front-line services to patients would not be affected but many back room operations, such as administration, would be shared.

NOC chief executive Jan Fowler, said the proposal would create an organisation with "greater resilience in the current economic climate".

ORH chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael said: "We will be developing detailed plans to ensure that we move forward towards achieving Foundation Trust status as quickly as possible."

The Radcliffe Hospitals Trust currently operates the John Radcliffe Hospital in Headington, Oxford, the Children's Hospital, the Oxford Heart Centre, Churchill Hospital in Headington, Oxford, the Oxford Cancer Centre and Horton General Hospital in Banbury.

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