STRUCTURE: The four foundation trusts bidding to take over North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust will put their proposals to a “wide range of internal and external stakeholders” at a meeting in October.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, Northumbria Healthcare, and Cumbria Partnership and Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals have all expressed interest in acquiring the trust.

The trust’s latest update on the acquisition process states: “Market response from FTs remains positive however there are concerns about the difference in the process compared to the transfer of community services as well as recent media activities in terms of the perceived impact these could have on the fair, transparent, competitive process being undertaken by the trust.

“All FTs remain engaged in the process and are expressing an interest in progressing to phase two at this stage.”

It adds that the first phase of the process has been extended from October to November “following the discussion at the July external stakeholder group about strengthening stakeholder engagement.

“This change in timescale allows for a stakeholder event in October where all FTs will present their proposal/submission to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders.

“The deadline for stakeholders to submit views on the acquisition following this event will be 19 October.”