Waiting times have risen and financial performance has declined at NHS hospitals following mergers, a study has found.
Research by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at Bristol University looked at finance, productivity, waiting times and quality and said there was “little evidence that mergers achieved gains other than a reduction in activity”.
It said: “Post merger, financial performance declines, labour productivity does not change, waiting times for patients rise and there is no indication of an increase in clinical quality.”
The study looked at the period from 1997 to 2006 and said during that time roughly half of general hospitals in England were involved in a merger.
The research also examined political influence on hospital mergers.
The paper, released yesterday, said: “Closures are more likely to be carried out in areas which are not politically marginal”.
The news comes after a large swathe of hospital trust merger bids have been announced (see list below).
Two trusts merged since 2006 – Imperial and South London – are predicting a combined year-end deficit of more than £100m for 2011-12.
Current merger proposals:
- Royal Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals
- North West London Hospitals and Ealing Hospital
- Barts, Whipps Cross and Newham prposed merger
- York Hospital and the Scarbrough and North East Yorkshire Trust
- North Cumbria University Hospitals merger with either Newcastle or Northumbria hospital trusts
- The division of Epsom and St Helier Hospitals trust between St George’s and Ashford and St Peter’s Foundation Trust
- Trafford and Central Manchester Foundation Trust
- Basingstoke & North Hampshire and Winchester & Eastleigh hospital trusts have recently completed their merger
- George Eliot Hospital trust has indicated it is looking for a merger partner
- A feasibility study is examining the possibility of merging Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and the South London and Maudsley Mental Health Foundation Trust.
- Chase Farm and North Middlesex University Hospitals
- A study has been conducted of the potential for sharing services between £149m-turnover West Middlesex University Hospital and £900m-turnover Imperial College Hospital Trust
- A merger is being considered for financially-troubled Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust
- Nuffield Orthopaedic Hospital and the Oxford Radcliffe recently had their merger approved by the Co-operation and Competition Panel
- Acute care
- ASHFORD AND ST PETER'S HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- BARNET AND CHASE FARM HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- BASINGSTOKE AND NORTH HAMPSHIRE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- CENTRAL MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- EALING HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- EPSOM AND ST HELIER UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- GEORGE ELIOT HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- GUY'S AND ST THOMAS' NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- IMPERIAL COLLEGE HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST
- KING'S COLLEGE HOSPITAL NHS FT
- London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust
- MID YORKSHIRE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- NEWHAM UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- NORTH CUMBRIA ACUTE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- NORTH MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- NORTHUMBRIA HEALTHCARE NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- POOLE HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- SCARBOROUGH AND NORTH EAST YORKSHIRE HEALTH CARE NHS TRUST
- South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
- SOUTH LONDON HEALTHCARE TRUST
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- THE NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- THE ROYAL BOURNEMOUTH AND CHRISTCHURCH HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- TRAFFORD HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST
- Waiting lists
- WEST MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- WHIPPS CROSS UNIVERSITY HOSP NHS TRUST
- YORK TEACHING HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST