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CMA clears the way for major hospital merger

The competition regulator has cleared the proposal for an NHS merger that will create one of the largest university hospital Trusts in the North of England.


The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched an enquiry into the merger in June this year, following the presentation of a detailed proposal, led by doctors, nurses and health professionals. The CMA has subsequently investigated and cleared the proposal, which will see the merger of Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust.


The CMA concluded that the merger would not result in a loss of choice for patients. The Trusts say merging should ensure patients receive consistent care wherever they are treated and will enable easier sharing of patient information for those receiving care from multiple services which are currently provided by separate Trusts.  The professionals who developed the proposal believe a merger will mean they can improve patient care by becoming one organisation.


Clearing the CMA process is a significant step towards merger. The proposal for the new organisation, which will be called Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will now be considered by NHS Improvement, and the Trusts are expected to merge formally in October 2019.  


Steve Warburton, who is currently Chief Executive of Aintree University Hospital and was recently appointed to lead the new merged organisation, says: “I am delighted that the CMA has approved our proposal. By merging, we can work collaboratively to improve quality and consistency of care for our patients and to attract and retain the best staff. This is great news for our staff and our patients.”


Sue Musson, who is Chair of the Interim Board of the proposed Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, adds: “This is an exciting step towards completing the merger of our organisations, which I believe will help us tackle the health issues that are prevalent within our area, provide consistently high quality care and make Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the best place to work for all our staff."


Sue will become the substantive Chair of the Board at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust from September 1 until the merger takes place, and Steve will take up the role of Chief Executive of both Trusts, also from September 1.