Health Secretary Andrew Lansley gives green light to new Barts NHS ‘super’ trust

12:00 16 March 2012

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has formally given the green light to the planned merger of three hospital trusts in east London that will create Britain’s biggest NHS administration.

The new Barts Health NHS Trust that takes over on April 1, subject to Parliamentary approval, amalgamates Barts & The London with neighbouring Newham and Whipps Cross hospital trusts.

The merger comes in the wake of a mass rally at Westminster earlier this month by doctors and NHS campaigners—including GPs from the East End—against Mr Lansbury’s Health & Social Care Bill.

Labour councillors at Tower Hamlets, who organised their own rally in Poplar a few days before, warned this week that promises of improvements had to be kept.

The Labour group’s health lead member Rachael Saunders said: “This merger is a big step—the promises of improvements must be delivered.

“It is vital that local people are involved in any decisions about reshaping health services and we’ll campaign to make sure their views are heard.”

The merger means all patients in Newham and Waltham Forest get direct access to the new Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green with their nationally-renowned trauma, hyper-acute stroke and renal units and access to one of the country’s biggest children’s hospitals.

Patients living in Tower Hamlets also gain the care of the elderly service and new maternity suite at Newham Hospital in Plaistow and the new A&E due to open later this year at Whipps Cross.

The new trust’s designated medical director, Dr Steve Ryan, said: “By merging, we can protect vital local health services with £1bn investment in world-class hospitals.”

The merger also allows admin savings which health bosses say will help safeguard frontline services, while patients will also feel benefits from the joint research programme run by the new organisation.

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