Hinchingbrooke Hospital recommend full merger with Peterborough at packed meeting

Hinchingbrooke Trust board meeting,

Hinchingbrooke Trust board meeting, - Credit: Archant

Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s board will press ahead with plans to merge with Peterborough it was confirmed at a packed meeting today (Monday).

Hinchingbrooke Trust board meeting, Robert Cossey-Mowle,

Hinchingbrooke Trust board meeting, Robert Cossey-Mowle, - Credit: Archant

The board approved a recommendation to produce a full business case for a merger with the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Peterborough’s board will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the plan, which is likely to mean the two hospitals will merge in April next year.

The meeting was attended by about 200 members of the public and staff, many of whom raised concerns about the possible loss of services and the cost of the merger against potential savings.

Hunting MP, Jonathan Djanogly, who handed in a petition. signed by 6,000 people, against a full merger, said after the meeting that he still had doubts about the financial case for merger.

“The driving force behind this has always been touted as saving money and now it seems to have been switched to arguments about clinical sustainability. There were a lot of issues raised here that cast doubt on whether it is necessary to go ahead with a full merger.”

The meeting, attended by about 150 members of the public and staff, some of whom wore pink as a show of solidarity against a merger, also heard passionate concerns from nurses and midwives who want to safeguard services. The main criticisms were the lack of detail in the outline business case and some questioned the validity of the merger plans.

“We don’t want to be a little voice in a very loud room. We are a little hospital that offers an outstanding service,” said an audience member from the Hinchingbrooke midwifery team.”

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Another audience member felt the plans had been rushed. “We are in danger of being sucked up, lost and spat out,” he said.

Board chairman Alan Burns admitted that a lot of work needed to be done on “culture and trust” and assured the meeting that there would be a greater level of detail in the full business case, due to be published in September.

Chief executive Lance McCarthy told the board it had become an “ever increasing struggle to provide high quality services at Hinchingbrooke” and merging would create “greater opportunities for staff”.

Full story in this week’s Hunts Post, published on Wednesday.