Hinchingbrooke Hospital has today announced that it has prepared a joint business case to merge with the Peterborough and Stamford Hospital’s Trust on April 1 next year.

The announcement comes days before a public meeting to discuss the plans, which could anger some.

The business case, which has been developed by both hospitals since January 2016, explores the clinical benefits of the two trusts working together and examines what the possible ramifications could be for patients and staff.

Hinchingbrooke has, however, pointed out that the document does not recommend “changing services at either hospital”, but it does highlight the risks of the organisations not collaborating which it believes could have a negative impact on some services for patients, particularly in Huntingdon.

The hospital has also earmarked £9m of savings a year, primarily in back office services. The outline business case, which has been published on both Trusts' websites today (Wednesday), will be discussed by each trust's board of directors in separate meetings to be held in public on Monday. The boards will separately decide whether or not to accept the recommendations made and how to progress from there.

In a joint statement, the two chief executives of the hospital trusts, Lance McCarthy of Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust, and Stephen Graves, of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The outline business case has been compiled following extensive engagement with both the clinical and non-clinical teams in both organisations in the past five months. All four options have been tested in a rigorous appraisal process carried out by the CEOs, chief nurses and medical directors of both Trusts. The recommended option is to work as one organisation and merge our two Trusts on April 1, 2017.

“If the boards of each trust approve the recommended option, the next step will be to produce a full business case to set out how it will be put into operation. Both trusts are committed to engaging with members of the public to help inform a full business case which will be completed by the end of September 2016.”

MP Jonathan Djanogly launched a campaign to protect services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital after an announcement in February that health chiefs in Huntingdon and Peterborough were looking at collaborating in the future to save costs.

The Huntingdon MP organised a protest march through Huntingdon earlier this month as part of his campaign to safeguard services at Hinchingbrooke. The MP was unhappy about the process leading up to the announcement and made his feelings known in the strongest terms, accusing Peterborough and Stamford Hospital's Trust of using “weasel words” in order to push its agenda to merge with Hinchingbrooke.