Health bosses have been answering the latest round of questions about the proposed merger between Burton's Queen's Hospital and the Royal Derby.

Questions were put to bosses at the latest annual members meeting of the Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. They included ones on any redundancy package to be paid the boss of the trust, Helen Scott-South, who is stepping down.

The merger is set to see a new NHS trust formed with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust acquiring the Burton trust.

It was announced at the meeting to the members that chief executive of the Derby trust, Gavin Boyle would head up the new combined trust.

Mr Boyle, who joined Derby Teaching Hospitals in March 2016, will become chief executive. Mrs Scott-South has decided not to throw her hat into the ring for the new top job, it has been revealed.

During an open question and answered session, where members of the trust were able to quiz board members, the majority of the questions revolved around the proposed merger.

Michael Slater and his wife, Patricia submitted a number of questions to the trust before the evening began, with almost all questions being answered.

Question 1: "Will Burton trust executives be paid more money after the merger? Is this the reason they are so keen on it?"

John Rivers, the chairman of both the Derby trust and the Burton trust answered: "Money has never arisen in any debate that I have been invited to. You are looking at a group of people in both trusts who hold public services as the paramount reason for why they work. Nothing is decided at the moment."

Question 2: "How much is the chief executive planned redundancy package?"

Gavin Boyle will become the chief executive of the proposed combined trust between Burton and Derby
Gavin Boyle will become the chief executive of the proposed combined trust between Burton and Derby

John Rivers answered: "It still remains completely hypothetical. It’s dependant on their being a merger, which still needs agreement and approved, so isn’t a question’s that anyone can answer, it can only be answered if and when it arises when we get to January or February."

Question 3: "If the chief executive in Burton leaves the trust, what guarantees can we have that services will remain at Burton as she says?"

John Rivers answered: "It is good that you place great trust in Helen’s judgement and I mean that, because she has great judgement in all matters.

"You must bear in mind that she is just one of 13 members of the board and all the plans that the Derby and Burton trusts make and finalise will be contained in the final business plan, which will be a public document."

Question 4: "Trust leaders appear to have spent a lot of time promoting the merger; has this come at the expense of clinical matters, such as the response the sepsis?"

Magnus Harrison, the chief medical director at Queen’s hospital, Burton answered: "I have spent an enormous amount of time on the merger, but from a sepsis point of view, we haven’t taken our eye off the ball.

"If you look at the quality metric, I don’t feel like it has detracted in any way from the clinical services that we offer."

Queen's Hospital with the car park to the south of the building

Question 5: "How can you be sure that the Staffordshire and Derbyshire STP will not move funds away from acute care and into private, community-based providers, such as Virgin Care. Is it not a bad time to promote a merger of the two trusts?"

Helen Scott-South, the chief executive of Burton Hospital trust answered: "There is going to be money that will be transferred, it’s called the left shift, which explains where the money is going to go, mainly to people with frailty and those in end of life care.

"Too many people come into hospital inappropriately or get stuck so we will be working with partners, one of who is Virgin Care, and other NHS providers in the area, and I am really pleased that the model of the care in South Derbyshire is the same as the model that we want to provide locally.

"The merger actually helps us provide those services. There are all sorts of benefits, so this is the right time for us to make the move."

Question 6: Paul Walker, the chairman of the East Staffordshire trade union asked: "With services, like long-term illnesses, which we all know Virgin Care took over. With that in mind, the Derbyshire STP [sustainability and transformation partnership] clearly indicates that there is 535 beds earmarked for closure.

"If all these things will be farmed out to Virgin, and with this takeover happening, does that mean to say we could possibly see hospitals, like Tamworth and Lichfield, being sold off to Virgin?"

Helen Scott-South answered: "I don’t see them being sold off to Virgin, so that is a nice simple part of that question answered; it won’t happen.

"We will see a further conversation happen in Staffordshire and possibly Derbyshire, about the use of buildings because the intention to move people out, and it’s a good intention is a very good one to stop people from inappropriately coming into hospital and moving people out.

The AMM was well attended to discuss the proposed merger
The AMM was well attended to discuss the proposed merger

"What we’re finding, locally, is more and more nursing and resident’s homes are actually closing and for some people, going home isn’t the option, even with high levels of support.

"So the conversations we’re having now are about using our community hospitals differently. So we are focusing on services for older people. What we don’t want is long term care in wards, but what we do want is the health village we’re putting onto this site, hopefully and a similar sort of thing which we would like to put on the Tamworth side.

"We are trying to be really pro-active, I think the alliance board which is all NHS providers will actually allow us to do more, as collectively we can spend the Staffordshire pound more wisely.

"I think from Derbyshire’s point of view, the idea that they are going to close that amount of community beds will come back and there will be a further conversation about it."

Tragic case of mum who died from sepsis at Burton's Queen's Hospital features on BBC Panorama show

Two public events for you to have your say on the Burton and Derby trusts proposed merger

The public have been invited to two open events in October to find out more about the proposed merger of Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

One meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 24, from 6pm to 7.30pm at the Royal Derby Hospital’s medical education centre.

The second will then take place in Burton, at the medical education centre at the Outwoods site of Queen’s Hospital on Thursday, October 26, from 6pm until 7.30pm.

The meetings have been organised to explain the benefits of the proposed merger to patients and staff, while bosses will also be able to answer questions in an open format from anyone concerned.

The chairman of the two trusts, John Rivers has said: "We want to encourage as many people as possible to attend these meetings so we can answer any questions, dispel any myths and reassure members of the public about any specific concerns they may have.

"The proposed merger is an exciting opportunity to improve and enhance local services. For Derby Hospitals, the proposed collaboration means access to a wider population base, enabling us to sustain and extend specialist services, such as cancer surgery and spinal services.

"For Queen's Hospital in Burton, our fundamental principle is that we will retain a vibrant district general hospital in the town, keeping and improving the core services we offer as part of that, including our A&E.

"Patients are at the heart of everything we do and these public meetings are an opportunity for us to share information and to listen to people’s views and concerns. We hope that many local people will attend and give us their views."

Anybody interested in attending one or both of the events, please email communications@burtonft.nhs.uk or call 01283 511511.