Taking over ailing Nuneaton hospital would be ‘logical’, says Warwick Hospital chief

HEALTHCARE in Warwickshire could become stronger and more efficient if the trust that runs Warwick Hospital takes on running another hospital, its chief executive has said.

The George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton may have to close unless it is taken over by another NHS or private organisation - and the board of South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT), which runs Warwick Hospital, has put itself forward as an interested party.

While no decisions are likely to be made for the next few weeks, SWFT chief executive Glen Burley is expecting George Eliot to be looking at the prospect of a takeover by the trust as a viable option.

He said: “The Health and Social Care Bill is enforcing the fact that every NHS trust has to make it to foundation trust status by 2014 and it was decided that George Eliot is not going to be able to make it on its own.

“As we have now taken on the running of community services - healthcare outside of hospital - in the whole of Warwickshire, we are in a good position to work with George Eliot. It would be logical to join them up in our foundation trust.”

Working under a new Warwickshire-wide board made up of governors from both parts of the county, George Eliot and Warwick would continue to operate as two separate hospitals but under the single direction of what it now SWFT.

Mr Burley said: “We currently have a turnover of £193 million and George Eliot has a turnover of £108 million, so it will obviously be a significantly big organisation.

“We would gain advantages from that size as it would mean we have a bigger capital and more flexibility in managing things.”

He added: “We have made it clear that it would be an acquisition by us, rather than a merger.

“Our objective is to try to get through the next few years by increasing the productivity of our staff, rather than having any redundancies.

“My vision would be that we try to keep the two hospitals separate, although there may be some departments on which we can work together, for example the new IT systems that are due to come into place.”

A statement issued by the George Eliot Hospital said: “We are in the very early stages of considering options and we are keen to explore a wide range of options.

“A very clear process will be used to identify and assess these. We will be looking at models which bring as many benefits as possible, for both the population we serve and our staff.”