East Grinstead NHS trust in merger plan to help finances

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Image caption,
Queen Victoria Hospital is renowned for its reconstructive surgery and burns care

Concerns have been raised about plans for a renowned hospital trust to merge with a much larger one.

The Queen Victoria Hospital Foundation Trust in East Grinstead is famous for reconstructive surgery and burns care but made a loss of £9.2m in 2019-20.

Its neighbours, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust, plan to merge next April.

If approved, it could then join the merged organisation from next October.

Both current and former senior staff members at the Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) have expressed concern about the proposal and have written to MPs.

Retired maxillofacial surgeon Andrew Brown said: "They've got to have a good reason behind them to improve the patient service and there's a great concern by many of us, and many of the staff at the hospital, that that is not really at the forefront - that they're being driven, as so often, by financial aspects."

A petition calling for any merger to be halted amid fears that specialist services could be lost has also been signed by nearly 6,000 people.

'Patients will benefit'

The QVH trust said its size meant it relied too much on key individuals, with just one person responsible for some roles.

It said it also did not have the full range of clinical services to support "very unwell patients", with some having to be treated elsewhere.

It said being part of a larger organisation could "lead to better utilisation of clinics and theatres and greater use of technology".

"In the future, working with these other hospitals could also help us to make changes to services for the benefit of patients," it added.

A merger would require the support of the trust's governors, as well as national approvals.

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