Managers of Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) have joined a new county group which officials say will help to improve patient care.
In a surprise move, the trust has joined counterparts at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston in forming a new Norfolk Patient Partnership (NPP).
The partnership also involves the Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, which oversees community facilities like the Swaffham Community Hospital.
The QEH’s board has signed a memorandum of understanding to explore ways in which the four organisations can work more closely together.
The trusts say they intend to have a comprehensive plan for services by the summer of next year.
QEH chief executive Dorothy Hosein said: “We face some difficult challenges as providers of healthcare in Norfolk including the relentless rise in demand for our services, and the recruitment of skilled staff.
“Our organisations already work together, but we think we can benefit patients even further from a more joined-up approach to treatment and care, and the NPP will be working together to agree the best ways to provide services for our patients in the future.
“By working more closely together through the Norfolk Provider Partnership we plan to both secure and develop specialist local care for patients to avoid the need for travelling outside Norfolk, to look at providing better support for patients in their own homes preventing unnecessary and often inconvenient hospital stays, and to share good practice more consistently.
“The Norfolk Provider Partnership will be working with commissioners, other NHS organisations and Norfolk County Council Social Services to design a new system of healthcare that is strengthened, improved and more integrated for the benefit of our patients.”