STRUCTURE: The chairs of Poole Hospital Foundation Trust and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust have signed a joint statement of intent, setting out details of how they will work more closely together.

The statement reveals the two trusts have agreed to carry out “a piece of work to explore the potential for closer collaboration” and consider if there is “any benefit in pursuing a formal merger”.

It says: “The initial work, which will involve local clinicians, commissioners (PCTs and future GP consortia) and governors from both organisations, will be at a high level. We will assess:

  • the potential benefits of reconfiguring clinical services
  • other opportunities which closer working between our two organisations could bring and how these might be realised for the benefit of the local population.”

Poole is in significant breach of its terms of authorisation with Monitor and has a financial risk rating of two, where one is the lowest and five is the highest.

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch has a green governance rating and a finance rating of four.