NHS Improvement has disclosed that £10 million was spent on work preparing a flagship teaching hospital, but this plan has now been shelved.
Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust in fact spent over £6 million on professional advice fees alone in developing this project.
NHS Improvement has stated that Sherwood Forest’s control total has been adjusted, meaning that the trust will record a £10 million larger deficit in 2016-17 than would usually be the case.
Nottingham’s share of the £10 million cost will be paid by Sherwood, according to the NHS regulator.
Despite the apparent waste of money, NHS Improvement claims that the abandoned merger has led to improvements at Sherwood Forest Hospitals.
Serious care quality and performance problems have been apparent in the region, and thus the two trusts will continue to collaborate, despite the merger idea being red-lighted.
The £10 million figure included:
– Nottingham professional adviser fees: £6.6 million
– Clinical support: £1 million
– Nottingham backfill costs: £1.5 million
– Sherwood backfill costs: £0.9 million
In addition, NHS Improvement incurred external costs of £36,665, but this does not include its internal costs such as staff time or travel expenses.
Sherwood Forest has been placed into special measures in July 2013 following the Keogh review.
Both trust will now focus attention on operational challenges, and there are no plans to rekindle the mooted merger.
Rupert Egginton, director of finance at NUH, reflected on the failed merger, suggesting that it will not impact detrimentally on healthcare in the region.
“The trust‘s financial position has not been adversely affected by the costs of the work associated with the long-term partnership. NUH has received financial support and reimbursement for the costs incurred.”
While a spokesman for NHS Improvement suggested that there had been positive outcomes.
“This work has contributed to the significant turnaround in performance achieved by Sherwood Forest Hospitals over the past year, with the trust having recently come out of special measures. Both trusts are committed to a working closely together, but have agreed not to pursue a merger at this time to enable Nottingham to focus on improving waiting times in its A&E department.”