SHOCK has greeted news no partner is now needed to take over the running of Nuneaton’s struggling George Eliot Hospital.
In a surprise announcement the board of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust and the NHS Trust Development Authority (NHS TDA) have decided not to continue the search for a partner organisation – citing significant improvements in clinical performance at the trust over the past year.
South Warwickshire Foundation (SWFT) was in the running to take over the George Eliot, and bosses had said the move would have major benefits for patients of both trusts.
SWFT chief executive Glen Burley said: “We are extremely disappointed with the decision to stop the process to find George Eliot Hospital a long term partner for the future as we firmly believe that an integrated Warwickshire organisation is best for patients and the sustainability of the health economy across Coventry and Warwickshire.
“We understand that this process hasn’t been stopped because of the quality of the bids and we now need to take some time to understand this decision and the impact it will have.”
SWFT had the backing of public sector union Unison which believed the problems of the George Eliot were best solved within the NHS, as opposed to the private firms – Care UK and Circle partnerships respectively – which were also in the running.
George Eliot Chief Executive Kevin McGee said: “Recent improvements have surpassed what we expected and this has led to us re-evaluating the process to secure a sustainable future for the Trust.
“There is still a great deal of work to be done and this approach will enable us to build on the improvements we have already made and to make sure that all of our focus goes into maintaining this good work and further enhancing the care patients receive at our hospital.”
The George Eliot has made significant progress in the past year – lowering death rates, seeing improvements in waiting times, and boasting one of the best performing A&E departments in the country in December and January against the national four hour treatment target.