Mersey Care succeeds in bid to run community health services in Liverpool. @Mersey_Care

NHS Improvement (NHSI) has announced that Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has succeeded in its bid to run the community services of Liverpool Community Health (LCH) NHS Trust.

NHSI made the decision after close analysis of the proposals from two local NHS organisations.

Mersey Care had already acquired some of LCH’s services in April following a decision by LCH two years ago not to pursue a future as a stand-alone organisation.

The second bidder, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is currently responsible for the LCH services under a management agreement with NHSI, whereby Alder Hey Board members also sit on the LCH Board.

The management agreement will transfer to Mersey Care from November 1 while all the details of the plans for acquiring the services are checked and finalised.  The transaction is expected to be complete by 1 April 2018.

A spokesperson for NHS Improvement, said: “This is almost the end of a lengthy process and we want to pay tribute to the patience and professionalism of LCH staff and their care for patients while the necessary work has been undertaken to bring about a result.

“During the bid process we had the pleasure of engaging in person with over 400 staff from LCH and their dedication is admirable.

“We congratulate Mersey Care and look forward to working with their teams in bringing the transaction to a conclusion. The Trust will begin work quickly with staff at LCH to ensure that a period of long term stability can begin.

“The NHSI evaluation panel that considered the bids felt that Mersey Care’s plan most closely met the needs of local health care for the future. We are confident that the Trust will work well with partners in the city to develop community services that improve people’s health and lives.

“Alder Hey also submitted a strong bid and remain one of our most capable and respected Trusts in the North. We thank the Trust most sincerely for the management expertise they demonstrated in running the LCH services since May.”

Joe Rafferty, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “This is fantastic news, we’re delighted that Mersey Care has been chosen as the preferred provider to deliver community services across Liverpool.

“This is an exciting opportunity to bring together community physical and mental health services and ensure more care is available in communities, closer to people’s homes, where possible, along with more appropriate stays in hospital.

“We will take up the managerial contract from 1 November and look forward to welcoming the new colleagues to the Trust. We will be working with them and our many partners to improve and deliver high quality joined up services and make a real difference to the lives of local people.”

A spokesperson on behalf of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), NHS England and Liverpool City Council, the three organisations responsible for commissioning community services in Liverpool, said:

“We welcome today’s announcement and look forward to working with Mersey Care to make sure that local people have access to the very best community services. We’re already seeing the benefits of health and social care working more closely together, and we’re committed to continuing this integration, so that services are designed around the needs of the people who depend on them.”