ANTHONY FARNSWORTH: Finding the right partner for the perfect fit
YOU may remember a few months ago that I used my column to talk about a decision our board made in May regarding the future status of the organisation and the decision to seek partnership with an NHS Foundation Trust.
This allows us to comply with national policy that all NHS trusts should become, or be part of, an NHS Foundation Trust.
In May, board members carefully considered the options, and unanimously decided that, rather than become a standalone FT, we should plan to become part of a larger organisation.
In coming to this conclusion we firmly believe this will ensure the trust's long-term future and place it in a strong position to continue to develop its innovative approach to health and social care integration, thus ensuring that every person gets the right care, at the right place and at the right time.
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We are now in the early stages of what's known as an acquisition and divestment process, governed by national policy and guidance.
We are working closely with the Strategic Health Authority, which has formal responsibility for the process, and one of our early tasks is to develop a set of criteria against which potential acquirers will be assessed.
Like a job description and person specification when applying for a job, this will provide a framework for interested organisations to focus on when submitting information, and for us to assess whether they would be the right partner for us.
To create these criteria we are working closely with our commissioning partners, GP groups, local authorities, and staff but we also want to hear from you, the people we are here to serve.
It's important to us to find out what matters to you and how you would like to see our services develop in the future. Having this information will help us to make sure we get the 'right fit' with a partner organisation, as we move on to the next stage, the detailed assessment and selection.
By early 2013 we should be in a position to make an announcement about the organisation chosen to be our acquisition partner. The second stage, working up the detail of the plans to form the single new organisation and seeking the necessary approvals, will also take several months.
In the meantime it's very much business as usual, with no practical changes to the way we provide services to local people, now or as a result of these plans.
Of course we will very much keep you updated as the process moves along and my column, along with our website, will be one of the ways you can keep up to date.
To share your views visit our website www.tsdhc.nhs.uk