- Bolton was previously reluctant to join Salford Royal and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh in their foundation group
- Trusts expected to retain separate boards under the new model, but could be run by a joint executive team
- The three FTs have begun discussions over reconfiguration of breast surgery and women’s and children’s services
A third hospital trust is considering whether to join the “foundation chain” being created by two leading foundation trusts in Greater Manchester.
Salford Royal FT and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh FT are in the process of forging an “acute care collaboration” under the new car models vanguard programme, as HSJ revealed last year.
Bolton FT was previously reluctant to join the project, despite already working with the two other trusts to create a “single service” for emergency care, under the regional Healthier Together programme.
HSJ understands that the trust’s board is now actively considering being involved in the chain, although a final decision has not been made.
Last year, Salford Royal’s chief executive, Sir David Dalton, authored a government backed review endorsing the establishment of hospital chains – which he called “foundation groups” – in the NHS.
He previously told HSJ that Salford Royal and WWL’s foundation group would look to develop a standardised operating system, which would initially cover aspects such as back office, strategy and planning functions, and over time could apply to care and treatment pathways.
The trusts are expected to retain their separate boards but could be run by a joint executive team.
HSJ has also learned the three trusts have begun discussions over possible reconfiguration of breast surgery and women’s and children’s services.
Bolton FT chief executive Jackie Bene said: “Different models and configurations have been discussed over time and we are still working on this, which includes potentially joining the vanguard.
“As well as the in-scope services included under Healthier Together, we are also now exploring how other services, including breast surgery and women and children’s services might be provided across the sector in the future.
“However, this trust has not made any formal decision as we are still in early stages of discussion, and any proposals would need to be agreed with our commissioners.”