Green light for Essex NHS trust merger

Two NHS trusts NEP and SEPT are to merge

Two NHS trusts NEP and SEPT are to merge

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Two Essex NHS Foundation Trusts are to merge in a move which will “ensure the sustainability of mental health services” in the county, according to health chiefs.

The South Essex Partnership University NHS Trust (SEPT) and North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (NEP) will join forces to be replaced by the new Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).

Both trusts will be dissolved on Friday, March 31, with the new EPUT coming into effect from April 1, but there will be no immediate changes to services.

A new clinical model for Essex-wide mental health services will be developed by the EPUT and any changes arising from the model with likely be subject to formal consultation.

Sally Morris, chief executive of SEPT and chief executive of EPUT’s interim board, said: “The result has only been made possible through the tremendous amount of hard work by very many of our staff, patients, carers and the support of our NHS and local authority partners and we are extremely grateful to everyone involved.

“The merger is an excellent outcome for people who rely on our services. We have said from the start that we would be stronger together.

“Now we can harness the real enthusiasm we have to take the best from both organisations to deliver sustainable and transformative mental health, learning disabilities and community health services for the benefit of people in Essex and Bedfordshire”.

Chris Butler, interim chief executive of NEP, said: “In coming together both trusts have put first what serves the best long term interests of people with mental health problems and those who care for them.

“I am absolutely convinced that the merger will ensure the sustainability of mental health services for the people of Essex.

“People will see no disruption in the services they receive, but the merger is a great springboard to develop with our partners ever better health and social care services.”

This is the first merger between two NHS foundation trusts under the current rules.

The plans were reviewed by an external regulator, NHS Improvement (NHSI) and a green risk rating – the best possible – was awarded to the proposals.

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