Are you considering a merger?

Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust (HRCH) and Kingston Hospital have been working closely for a number of years – and these essential working relationships have developed significantly during the pandemic.

We are not merging the two organisations, but our two Trust Boards have agreed that it is in the best interests of patients, local people, employees and the future of the two organisations, to further develop our partnership working and that is what we are seeking to do at this time.

To enable this partnership, we are bringing the executive teams of the two organisations together, and we will be establishing a Committee in Common to facilitate coordinated decision making across the two trusts. We anticipate launching this in April 2022 and have been sharing our plans with staff across the two trusts and with our local health and care partners.

What is a committee in common?

A Committee in Common is the bringing together of two committees created by each sovereign board of the trusts undertaking collaborative work – in this case, Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust and Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The aim is to facilitate co-ordinated decision making and assurance for each trust.

Will both trusts retain a board in addition to having members on the Committee in Common?

Yes, each organisation will retain a board, and the boards will delegate authority to the Committee in Common to make decisions in some areas.

Is a closer partnership the best option?

Local people have told us the NHS is complicated to navigate and they have to tell their stories multiple times to get the care and treatment they need.

As relatively small healthcare organisations, it makes sense for HRCH and Kingston Hospital to come together with shared leadership, to create a stronger and more resilient NHS team to serve the needs of the people of Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond.

What are the benefits of a closer partnership?

We already work closely together in so much of what we do, and in our new partnership arrangement, we’ll make sure we hold on to the best of our three fantastic organisations, so together we can do more for local people.

Following the government’s white paper, we know that the future of the NHS lies in greater integration with closer and more dynamic partnerships between organisations. By coming together now, we will be able to chart our own path in a way that benefits the local people we serve and the people who work with us.

Rather than resources (money and people) staying within organisational boundaries, through one leadership team it will be easier for us to direct our resources at the right time to where the need arises, giving increased support to services under pressure due to challenges such as increasing demand, workforce availability and financial pressures. We’ll be able to work more flexibly to improve pathways and meet patient demand. We’ll also be able to redirect some of our funding to prevent people developing long-term conditions, such as diabetes, some cancers and obesity.

What happens next?

Both our trust boards have agreed to set up a Committee in Common (CiC) that will enable the two trusts to make joint decisions and deliver services across organisational and geographical boundaries.

It is important to note that, while the CiC may be able to make decisions on behalf of both trusts, our separate boards remain responsible for performance and outcomes for our respective trusts.

Some items may require input at CiC level and would then be approved by the boards, such as the annual plan and budgets, depending on how the trusts wanted the CiC to function.

To support and guide us in this, we will work with our staff, partners and local people to develop a new vision, objectives and set of values – and we look forward to involving all of our people, our partners and local residents in this work.

Coming together and sharing our resources better will enable us to achieve what we cannot do as individual organisations and we will be able to solve health and care challenges that are too big for us to overcome on our own.

How will HRCH work with NW London and SW London CCGs?

NWL and SWL have different working patterns (8am-8pm vs 7am-7pm) and some of our services work across Hounslow and Richmond. What would this mean for Hounslow and West Middlesex University Hospital?

We understand how keen our people are to hear more of the detail of what closer working will entail, but we are still in the very early stages of discussing the way forward, so it is too early to answer questions about detail definitively.

What does this mean for staff?

Our staff will benefit from a much broader range of career opportunities across a greater portfolio of services, which will help us retain them in the NHS in Hounslow, Kingston and Richmond. This will give us a much better opportunity to share expertise and best practice and will help us ensure more patient care is delivered in the community, closer to people’s homes, rather than in hospital.

When we say that partnership will be better for everyone, making improvements that benefit our people will be absolutely central to that. It’s a proven fact that staff who are well supported and empowered to make change provide better patient care, so that’s one of the big advantages of being Better Together.

We can develop a more ambitious clinical strategy, offer a more secure future and be better equipped to support our staff in responding to the new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Our ambition is to create a vibrant, supportive partnership in which staff can develop, innovate, deliver and support outstanding care.

Are jobs secure?

There is a national shortage of nurses and specialty clinical staff and, along with every trust in the country, we have vacancies in clinical and non-clinical areas that we want to fill.

We believe the new organisation will improve recruitment and retention of staff. The partnership is about improving services for patients, not saving money, or reducing NHS posts.

Will staff have to work at another site?

While there will be opportunities to move, there is no intention to force people to travel across sites. The overwhelming majority of staff members will continue to work as normal, in the same location and under the same terms and conditions as they do currently, including any agile working arrangements that are in place.

How developed are the plans?

The trust boards took the decision to fully explore a proposal to work more closely together in late September and early October. We, therefore, remain in the early stages of planning. The next steps have been outlined above.

How will I be kept informed?

You will be kept updated on plans through our regular communications channels. Our staff will also have regular opportunities to ask questions and contribute to the process.

Ask a question

If you have a question about our plans that isn’t answered on this page, please get in touch.