SCARBOROUGH health trust has moved a step closer to merging with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The case to join the two organisations is now being considered by the Co-operation and Competition Panel, with a final decision expected in April next year.
The panel has formally accepted the case and will now look at submissions from both Scarborough and York.
They will consider the costs and benefits of the merger to patients and taxpayers and assess how the changes will affect patient choice and competition for healthcare services in the area.
Mike Proctor, chief executive of Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Work is progressing to plan towards integration.
“Our submission to the panel presents one of the hurdles we need to clear in this process, and we hope to convince them of the significant benefits that this integration would bring for the population we serve.”
The move has also been welcomed by Leo McGrory, chairman of Scarborough and District Local Involvement Network (LINK), an organisation which represents patients.
He said: “I think it’s very important that this stage in the process has been overcome, so we’re not left in a ‘limbo’ situation.
“It’s a major step, but there is still a lot of work to be done on the merger.
“Ultimately we need to keep an eye on the process and ensure that services are not reduced.”
He praised the recent improvements at the trust, such as the new Maple ward and ongoing refurbishment work in A&E and the main reception.
The hospital also received a recent boost and national TV coverage after celebrity chef James Martin revamped the restaurant and menu.
Mr McGrory said he has been given assurances from both Mike Proctor and York’s chief executive Patrick Crowley that the link-up will benefit Scarborough Hospital and its patients even further.
He said: “I think they have both been very up front and I’m happy with what has been said so far.
“As long as the healthcare is good, I don’t think we need to be too concerned about administration.”
However, Mr McGrory added that event though he is positive about the merger, he is uncertain about how NHS changes on a national level could affect Scarborough’s situation a couple of years down the line.
He said: “It’s very difficult to say what will happen longer term, due to funding and changes on a national scale.
“I think it’s important for the public to keep a close eye on what’s happening.”
People are being encouraged to become a member of the foundation trust, which will have local governors in the Scarborough area.
To join or find out more call 0870 7030151 or email email@example.com
The Cooperation and Competition Panel is welcoming submissions from interested individuals and organisations on the proposed merger.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline of November 7.
• A public meeting of Scarborough Hospital’s trust board will be held on Tuesday at noon in the Green Room, Trust Headquarters, Scarborough Hospital.