The new sustainability and transformation plans could result in a major collaboration between a foundation trust and community and mental health trust.
Local leaders in Cumbria have agreed several acute and community service reconfigurations following a consultation by the West, North and East Cumbria success regime.
This organisation formed part of the sustainability and transformation structure in the area.
It is hoped that the new approach to healthcare in the region can enable the authorities to get a handle on its £163 million overspend.
The end of the decade has been targeted as a possible ETA for this aim.
Meanwhile, sustainability and transformation will also play a role in redesigning hospital and community care in Cumbria.
Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body made decisions last week over the future of services in the region.
Maternity, community hospital beds and paediatrics will all be affected by the new arrangements.
There is also the possibility of creating a joint leadership team for North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust and Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust.
This would effectively represent something of a merger for the acute provider and community and mental health trusts in the region.
STP lead Stephen Eames, who is also chief executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust, believes that any savings made by the sustainability and transformation program can be considered merely a pillar of the overall strategy.
“The [success regime] consultation hasn’t been driven by financial considerations – it has been a consideration of quality linked to the acute trust being in long term special measures for finance and quality, and also driven by significant workforce considerations where effectively we are trying to run two of the smallest district general hospitals in England.”
North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust has been in special measures since 2013, as the region struggles to deal with NHS targets.
It is expected that North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust will be around £50 million in deficit by the end of the financial year, with the Cumbria partnership also forecasting a deficit in the region of £6 million during the fiscal period.
This new move is just the latest in an overarching policy of integration in the area, with the region’s eight integrated care communities already contributing to both primary and social care.
North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust was created in April 2001 by merging Carlisle Hospitals NHS Trust and West Cumbria Healthcare NHS Trust.
It runs Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, Cumbria, Penrith Hospital and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, England.