PERFORMANCE: Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust is in talks to enter into a formal ‘buddying’ arrangement with Royal United Hospitals Bath FT, following the end of its relationship with Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals FT.

The Nottinghamshire trust has also mentioned in board papers the possibility of buddying with Luton and Dunstable University Hospital FT for assistance in improving its emergency department performance.

King's Mill hospital

Sherwood Forest Hospitals FT was placed in special measures following the Keogh review

Sherwood Forest was placed in special measures alongside 10 other trusts in 2013 following the Keogh review. The 11 trusts were then “buddied up” with more successful providers in a bid to drive improvement.

The trust’s previous buddying arrangement, with Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals FT, ended in December after 10 months.

A spokesman for Sherwood Forest confirmed that talks with the Bath acute trust were underway, but added: “We are considering [Royal United Hospitals Bath] as potential buddies, however nothing has been formalised.”

Three areas of performance, or workstreams, would form the foundation of any agreement struck with the Bath trust:

  • the delivery of an integrated improvement programme;
  • enhancing relationships with primary care providers to deliver vertically integrated patient pathways; and
  • improved business intelligence and analysis.

Minutes from the Sherwood Forest’s December board meeting said: “[Trust chief executive] Paul O’Connor assured directors that the first three workstreams will form the basis of a new buddying agreement with Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation Trust.”

The document added that a fourth workstream would focus on “improvements in one of the trust’s priority areas, enhancing [its] work to improve its emergency department and flow, by buddying with a high performing accident and emergency trust, Luton and Dunstable University Hospital Foundation Trust”.

A spokesman for Luton and Dunstable said there had been “some initial discussions” with Sherwood Forest about a potential buddying arrangement.

It concluded: “It was agreed [by the trust’s governing body] that both Luton and Royal United Hospitals Bath were good pairings.”

The trust expects to pay £10,000 to Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals for its support, board documents said.