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Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals (BSUH) and Western Sussex Hospitals (WSHT) have announced plans to pursue a merger between the two trusts, building on the already “hugely effective” collaboration between the NHS Trusts.

The Trust Boards believe a new, single organisation will create exciting opportunities for the hospitals to grow and develop services and continue to deliver vital care to communities across Sussex.

BSUH and WSHT, which run hospitals in Brighton, Haywards Heath, Worthing, Shoreham and Chichester, have been managed by a shared executive team since April 2017, including a shared chief executive – Dame Marianne Griffiths.

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During that period, both organisations have been recognised for providing outstanding care.

WSHT became the first non-specialist acute hospitals trust to be awarded Outstanding in all the CQC’s key inspection areas. BSUH became the fastest improving acute hospitals trust in England and is now rated Good overall and Outstanding for caring.

Now the organisations wish to collaborate even further by proposing a merger between the two trusts to further deliver “outstanding” care across Sussex.

Commenting on the new merger proposal, Dame Marianne Griffiths, Chief Executive of BSUH and WSHT, said in a statement: “Our ambition with a new, single organisation is to create new specialist services and continue to develop and deliver outstanding local care to our patients.

“The talent, expertise and dedication shown by colleagues at BSUH and WSHT is remarkable. In recent months as we have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic the collaboration and mutual support between the trusts has been hugely effective. This partnership has enabled us to provide the very best care for our patients while maintaining our focus on staff safety.

“Building on this closer working relationship and creating a new, single organisation will provide us with many opportunities to design and grow services for our local communities and improve the care we provide across Sussex.”

The next steps are the development of a full business case with staff, partners, governors, members and local communities involved in creating the new organisation.

Dame Marianne added: “We want everyone in our communities to play a part in shaping the future of health care in Sussex and their views will play a valuable role in building a new trust.”

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