STRUCTURE: The boards of Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Medway NHS Foundation Trust are “exploring” the option of merging.

A press statement said: “The proposed changes to the NHS in the Health and Social Care Bill, as well as the increasing financial pressures, mean that we will be faced with some significant challenges over the coming years.

“In this context the boards have not only been considering how we can ensure long-term clinical and financial sustainability, but also how we can improve the services we offer to local people.

“After careful considerations, Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust boards have agreed to explore the feasibility of bringing the two trusts together as one organisation.”

It is anticipated that feasibility work will be complete within a timeframe that would allow approval processes to be complete by April 2012.

The two organisations have already collaborated on a range of clinical and non-clinical services this year