STRUCTURE: Health leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire widely expect services to be removed from George Eliot Hospital Trust regardless of whether or not it enters a into a partnership with an NHS or private organisation it has emerged.

The trust has previously expressed an intention to go to tender to find a long-term partner. Talks have taken place with private firms such as Serco and Circle, and NHS foundation trusts including nearby South Warwickshire Foundation Trust.

A “sustainable specialties and frail older people’s programme” is under way in Coventry and Warwickshire. Initial workstreams are looking at chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emergency surgery, stroke and end of life care, with diabetes, dementia and geriatric medicine to follow.

Early reports strongly suggest that emergency surgery should be concentrated on one or possibly two sites, and highlighted the small numbers of ambulance conveyances for stroke to George Eliot Hospital Trust and South Warwickshire Foundation Trust.

Senior sources in the local health economy expect that beyond that review, paediatric and obstetric services will also be centralised, and that reconfiguring emergency surgery will raise doubts over the long term future of George Eliot’s accident and emergency unit.

Commissioners are understood to be concerned that they do not create resistance by “pushing too fast”. They are keen to look at clinical evidence first, and then enact changes on that basis rather than starting with the assumption that a set of services is unviable and then finding a justification later.

Senior figures at George Eliot Hospital privately rule nothing out.

However, a statement issued by the trust said: “We categorically deny that there are any plans for services to be removed from George Eliot Hospital.

“The trust is in the process of seeking a strategic partner with the aim of ensuring high quality services that meet the needs of local people remain on the site in the long-term. The board has made clear its intentions that any potential partner organisation must be committed to providing such services.”