Hereford & Worcester

Worcestershire hospital merger dropped for new trust

Plans to give control of community hospitals in Worcestershire to the county's acute hospitals trust have been dropped.

NHS Worcestershire was proposing to merge community and acute hospitals.

Instead, the county's mental health trust will be dissolved and those services along with community health services will form a new trust.

The Worcestershire Community Mental Health Trust will be up and running by April 2011, NHS Worcestershire said.

The plans were confirmed at a meeting on Wednesday.

Hospitals 'valued'

NHS Worcestershire had said the original merger proposal was designed to improve patient care.

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, told BBC News that community hospitals were "incredibly valued" by residents and patients.

"The reports I've heard are that the decision has been to dissolve the mental health trust and combine it with the primary care provision - the community health services, like the community hospitals - as well as a range of other primary care responsibilities.

"We've got five community hospitals in the county.

"They are incredibly valued by their local communities and people really appreciate being treated close to home.

"I hope that this reorganisation will mean they are used more and for more patients and people spend less time in acute care."

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