Musgrove Park Hospital and Somerset Partnership – the NHS provider for mental health and community services – are joining forces to provide more seamless care for local people.
Patients say they don’t want to have to tell numerous different NHS staff what’s wrong with them – and staff want to be able to work as one team in the interests of people using services.
The Boards at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (Musgrove Park) and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have now agreed a formal collaboration.
They will create one joint executive management team with a single chief executive to oversee the collaborative working.
At a joint Board meeting, directors heard from staff about the ways in which organisational barriers are getting in the way of really excellent care.
Dr Nick Broughton, chief executive at Somerset Partnership, said: “One young woman with complex medical and social needs had 76 appointments – at the hospital with numerous specialists, with community staff, with social care, therapists, dieticians and children’s services.
“This is an extreme case, but so many Somerset people use both Musgrove Park and community or mental health services, and we recognise that our care needs to be properly joined up, well-coordinated and easy to navigate.
“This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to make that happen.”
Dr Sam Barrell, chief executive at Musgrove Park, said: “We are both clinically-led organisations and we share the same vision and goals. It makes sense to come together.
“It’s really vital that patients can move smoothly between services. Of course this also means working closely with GPs, Yeovil District Hospital, social care and the voluntary sector, so that we can make a big difference to the experience people have of using healthcare services.”
Colleagues across the two trusts have already been working well together to provide more joined up care, but say it can be difficult to share information and there is unnecessary duplication in some services.
Some of the first clinical areas in which Musgrove and Somerset Partnership are working more closely together include:
- Developing comprehensive psychiatric liaison services to ensure that patients at Musgrove with mental health needs get the specialist care they need, without long delays.
- Integrated therapy services to make the best possible use of the time and skills of healthcare staff to benefit patients – at Musgrove, in the community and at people’s own homes.
- Stroke services that work seamlessly together to ensure people can move smoothly between their acute care and rehabilitation.
The joint management team for Musgrove and Somerset Partnership will be in place by September. This is not a formal merger and the two organisations will remain legally separate.