• Two bids rejected for community trust
  • NHS Improvement said neither fully met the required criteria
  • Says the trust should work closely with its health economy

NHS Improvement has rejected two separate bids to take over a community trust, claiming neither submission met the full criteria.

The national regulator has rejected bids from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust and South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust to take over Shropshire Community Health Trust.

The two trusts were shortlisted earlier this year as preferred organisations to take over the struggling community service provider.

According to board papers published this week by Shropshire Community Health Trust, NHS Improvement said neither trust fully met the criteria and that “the risks associated with proceeding with either option at this stage outweigh the opportunity for patient benefits from the transaction”.

The regulator has instead recommended a “strengthened partnership approach” for the trust involving other organisations in the Shropshire sustainability and transformation partnership.

In November 2016, Shropshire Community Health Trust said it would not be financially or operationally viable in the long term and as a result agreed to find a partner organisation to take over its services.

One of the bidders, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, has just launched a long delayed consultation on a major reconfiguration of its acute services this week.

The other trust, Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare FT, is set to merger with Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Trust by 1 June this year.

This story was updated at 16:30 after NHS Improvement pusblished a statement on the merger of Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare FT and Stoke on Trent Partnership Trust.