Health service: Trust mergers may backfire

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The Independent Online
One in six NHS trusts are involved in merger talks with neighbouring trusts but the savings achieved are likely to be overwhelmed by damage to staff morale and opposition from politicians and public, according to a survey.

Even if a third of all trusts merge, twice the number currently considering the move, the savings would be pounds 240m at most, according to the survey conducted jointly by the Health Service Journal and Nexus Structured Communications. Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health, has said he expects to see more mergers to reduce duplication of facilities, and provide a more efficient service. But the survey found opposition from nearly every group, both inside and outside trusts. Geoffrey Bowden, author of the report, said: "The savings are extremely modest for the pain and agony that they will put the NHS through."

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