Cornwall healthcare groups in merger plan

Two of the largest healthcare providers in Cornwall could merge under cost saving plans.

Peninsula Community Health and the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said the merger would benefit patients.

Peninsula's chief executive, Steve Jenkin, said the services were experiencing "unprecedented levels of demand."

A study has begun to investigate the proposal.

Peninsula Community Health, a not-for-profit community interest company, formed in 2011, provides community health services to adults and runs Cornwall's cottage hospitals, minor injuries units and district nursing teams.

'Streamline operation'

Mr Jenkin said: "There are clearly financial challenges for all NHS providers. We are all looking to see how we can best provide services to an ageing population and growing demand."

The Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust looks after community health services for children and young people, as well as mental health and learning disability services for all ages.

Phil Confue, from the trust, said: "If we can make sure as services we are joined up, that has to be better for the individual.

"At the moment if you are having to ring two sets of organisations, deal with two sets of paperwork, it is much harder."

Stuart Roden, from union UNISON, said: "I think the business model for the social enterprise was not correct. This region saw more social enterprises than anywhere else and we were concerned it was not socially viable.

"This is one way of bringing services back together, we are re-inventing what we had four or five years ago but that is no bad thing."

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