Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Trust have been working in partnership across a number of issues since mid-2019. Since that time, further internal discussions have taken place within North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust regarding the future strategic direction of the Trust.

These discussions culminated in September 2019 in a decision by the Trust Board of Directors and Council of Governors to recommend to NHS Improvement that the Trust be acquired by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust (Mersey Care). The rationale underpinning this decision is the recognition that, in coming years, growing financial challenges are likely to put the quality and safety of patient care at risk within the services provided by the Trust; which the Board of Directors have determined cannot be allowed to happen.

Mersey Care was considered by the Board of Directors and Council of Governors as the most favourable organisation to acquire the Trust given their track record in delivering high quality clinical services and their financial stability. In October 2019, NHS Improvement notified the Trust that it supported the recommendation.

Following this announcement in 2019, commissioners in Wigan felt it was the right time to review and consider options for the future of mental health services the Trust currently delivers in Wigan. NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group and Wigan Council have identified clear benefits for transferring mental health services to a provider within the Greater Manchester area, and this will be Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (Greater Manchester Mental Health).   

This means our Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester staff and services will separate from the wider Trust and transfer to Greater Manchester Mental Health on 1 April 20201, before the rest of the organisation transfers to Mersey Care on 1 June 2021.

A Transaction Board was established in January 2020 to provide strategic oversight for the acquisition of the Cheshire and Merseyside services, and this was chaired by Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Mersey Care.

In September 2020, the Transaction Board was extended to include the strategic oversight of the transfer of Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services, and as such the membership of the Transaction Board was extended to include representatives from the Executive Team from Greater Manchester Mental Health.   The Transaction Board is chaired by Stephen Downs, Director of Operational Finance – North West, as the independent Chair from NHS Improvement.

The transfer of our Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services is led by Tracy Hill, Executive Director of Strategy and Organisational Effectiveness/Transaction Programme Director, supported by Joanne Hiley, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Governance and Executive lead for the borough. Liz Calder, Director of Performance and Strategic Development, is the lead from Greater Manchester Mental Health.

A Wigan Programme Group, established by Greater Manchester Mental Health oversees the operational management of the transfer of services to Greater Manchester Mental Health.    The Group oversees the progress of the following ten work streams:

  • Corporate Governance

  • Quality and Clinical Safety

  • Workforce and Organisational Development

  • Transaction and Legal

  • Information Management and Technology

  • Operational and Clinical

  • Contracts and Performance

  • Communications and Stakeholder Engagement

  • Finance and Capital

  • Estates and Facilities