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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 December 2005, 16:03 GMT
Support for NHS trust merger plan
Two North East health trusts say they have received overwhelming support for proposals to merge their services.

Earlier this year County Durham and Darlington Priority Services NHS Trust and Tees and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust announced the merger plan.

They provide mental health, learning disability and addictive behaviour services across County Durham, Tees Valley and North East Yorkshire.

Out of 300 responses to consultation, only seven were against the plans.

In August the trusts began a 13 week programme of formal consultation around the proposal.

'Best option

This ended in November after attracting more than 300 responses from service users, carers, staff, partner organisations and the public.

Of those responses there were just seven objections to the merger.

After considering all the responses to the consultation the boards of both trusts have now agreed to go ahead with the merger.

The chief executives of the two trusts said in a joint statement: "We believe merger is the best option to allow us to continue that progress and provide improved access to a greater range of local services, and it's clear from the consultation that many others support that view."

The trusts say a single organisation can better recruit and retain staff and provide cost-effective services to largely rural communities.

The trusts will now ask the Board of County Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority to seek formal permission for the merger from the government.

A new trust to be called Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust is expected to be created in April 2006.

It will serve a population of around 1.4 million people and employ about 5,000.




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