I would like to inform the House that a written answer I gave on 8 October 2019, to the former hon. Member for Blackpool South contained an error and wish to correct the formal record.
In my reply, I was incorrectly advised and stated that ‘The Chair at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Chair at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust sought the views of NHS England and NHS Improvement on the possibility of merging services and provision between the two trusts.”
The correct position is that the Chair at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT did seek advice from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI), as to whether they would support a proposal for a joint Chief Executive Officer, working across both organisations. These conversations did not involve discussion around merging services or provision.
Both trusts provided NHSEI with a number of assurances that having a joint Chief Executive working across two organisations would bring actual benefits and improve the care of patient populations in Blackpool and East Lancashire. NHSEI confirmed that they would be happy with those arrangements pending the appropriate approvals from within their own organisations. On 1 May Kevin McGee was appointed as interim Chief Executive of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, while remaining as Chief Executive and Accountable Officer of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. On 4 October 2019 this joint appointment was made permanent.
Powers under Section 56A and 56AA of the NHS Act 2006 enables an NHS Foundation Trust (FT) to merge with another FT or NHS Trust. The trusts are required to make a joint application to NHS Improvement for any merger to go ahead. Where a merger involves an NHS Trust, this must also be supported by the Secretary of State. Any decisions by the two trusts need to reflect the views of local stakeholders, including local Members of Parliament.