A major merger of the two acute hospitals located in Manchester will save over £100 million by 2021 according to health leaders.
Plans will see Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust, University Hospital of South Manchester FT and North Manchester General Hospital merge.
Pennine Acute Hospitals Trust is responsible for running the organisations, and the trusts suggest that efficiency savings can be made on workforce, back office and estates costs.
While organisational changes will be central to the initiative, the plans also involve reconfiguration of several specialties.
Elective orthopaedics at Trafford General Hospital and vascular surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary will both be centralised under this scheme, with savings of approximately 10% expected.
Reporting on the merger, the Greater Manchester devolution team suggested that the cumulative saving achieved by the initiative will be in the region of £105 million over a four-year period.
“The expected savings of £105m between 2017-18 and 2020-21 were identified as part of a comprehensive cost benefit analysis carried out in early 2017,” a spokeswoman commented
Nonetheless, despite the positive prognostications made by health leaders in Manchester, think tanks have frequently found that savings achieved by mergers are much less than estimated by the authorities.
In fact, the King’s Fund has stated that evidence to support the positive impact of large-scale reconfigurations of hospital services on finance has been almost entirely lacking.
Meanwhile, references are being submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority outlining the services that are to be consolidated within a single site.
Commenting on the issue, a spokeswoman suggested that the new plan would achieve significant savings for hospitals in Manchester.
“The Manchester locality plan and Sir Jonathan Michael’s independent single hospital service review identified the need to address variation in the way hospital services are provided in Manchester. There is robust evidence that certain services achieve improvements in outcomes when a larger volume of patients are treated within a service.”
The spokeswoman also indicated that the process would be open-ended, with room for healthcare professionals and the public to communicate their concerns.
“Where the benefits case refers to centralisation or relocation of services, these proposals would still be subject to staff and public consultation where appropriate.”
The services to be consolidated are as follows:
Cardiology – Manchester Royal Infirmary or Wythenshawe Hospital.
Vascular Surgery – Manchester Royal Infirmary.
Urology surgery – Manchester Royal Infirmary or Wythenshawe.
Urology kidney stone removal – Wythenshawe.
Orthopaedics elective surgery – Trafford General Hospital.
Orthopaedics (fractured neck of femur) – Manchester Royal Infirmary or Wythenshawe.
Head and neck cancer and maxillofacial surgery – Manchester Royal Infirmary or Wythenshawe.