A good deal of Governors' time and that of the hospital Executive and Board is being devoted to the application to merge with Ashford and St Peters. The timetable has slipped a little but the hospitals hope that, if approved, the merger will come about in the middle of next year. Approval is required by several central bodies and of course by both hospital Boards and by both sets of Governors.
I chair the Royal Surrey Merger Working Group of Governors. The WG's task is to assist governors
- in understanding the processes such as the legal grounds on which governors can turn down the proposal,
- in keeping in touch with what is going on
- in interpreting various voluminous and complex documents
- in ensuring the hospital meets its legal responsibilities to inform the public (and staff) and take account of any concerns and to ensure they undertake 'due diligence' in all aspects of the business case for the merger i.e. they do it properly in a well researched and honest way.
- a secure financial position of being in surplus avoiding the possibility of both hospitals otherwise slipping in to deficit
- '7 day working' in a number of specialties
- improved cancer services from an increased catchment area
- the creation of a digital merged hospital including electronic patient records
- more research projects.
My main concern at the moment, which is shared by most governors, is that far too little has happened about communicating with the public and Trust members and about formally capturing and taking account of their views. I and one other governor represent the Royal Surrey governors on a so called Stakeholder Committee which draws together internal staff members and representatives of external bodies to advise on communications. I have made known my opinion that too much effort is being devoted to producing and updating a strategy for communications and too little in actually doing it - time ticks on!! I shall continue to make this point.