HSJ’s round up of Tuesday’s key stories

Cornwall trusts in merger talks to prepare region for new care models

In an unusual step for the NHS, Cornwall’s only mental health trust has begun talks to merge with its main acute provider.

Acute provider Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust, which delivers mental health and community services, want to prepare the region to implement the new models of care outlined in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Cornwall Partnership chief executive Phil Confue told HSJ the talks were aimed at making sure all local health partners were “fit for purpose” to adopt new care models. “It’s about beginning to build structures up so we are fit for purpose and we can make those changes happen,” he said.

HSJ is now braced for a whole new wave of merger mania to sweep England, with ailing district general hospitals looking to their mental health counterparts for security.

Regulators voice concern over patient consent process

Allegations of doctors retrospectively altering patients’ consent forms has sparked concern among regulators that the process for securing patient consent for treatment is open to abuse.

The Care Quality Commission and NHS England have warned that patients were not always given copies of their completed consent forms, in a letter to General Medical Council chief executive Niall Dickson, seen by HSJ.

An investigation by HSJ has also uncovered two cases where consent forms were allegedly amended, another where forms were retained by a hospital trust, and a case of a patient being treated without consent.