STRUCTURE: Dartford and Gravesham Trust and Medway Foundation Trust have published a final business case for their proposed merger.

The 400-page document, Better Care Together, sets out detailed plans for integration of the two north Kent trusts, which opted to pursue a merger in November 2011.

The business case states that both Darent Valley Hospital and Medway Maritime Hospital will continue to offer the “core” services of a consultant led accident and emergency department, outpatients services, children’s services and comprehensive maternity services.

Meanwhile, “enhanced specialist services” will be developed across the new trust so that fewer patients from the area are referred to London.

The document re-emphasises the organisations’ view that a merger will provide long-term sustainability that “cannot be achieved by each trust alone”.

It states: “Integration benefits over the first three years alone total £16m and a financial surplus is projected for 2013-14 onwards.

“This financial sustainability will allow us to protect, and safely deliver, existing services at both hospitals, as well as invest in the development of new specialist services locally.”

The merged trust is provisionally being referred to as North Kent Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The two organisations are in the process of agreeing a name for the integrated trust with stakeholders.

The trusts submitted their integration plans to Monitor and the Department of Health this month.