Burton's Queen's Hospital is vital to the town. That is why the Burton Mail launched a campaign to keep the accident and emergency department at the Belvedere Road hospital open.
Now big plans are in the pipeline to merger the trust which runs Queen's Hospital and the Royal Derby, in the city.
What is paramount for the town is that the excellent hospital services we currently receive continue. Keeping our accident and emergency department is also vital and is something that the Burton Mail is campaigning long and hard over. A big town such as Burton must have an A&E; to send people elsewhere in an emergency could put lives at risk.
This needs to be a given if these plans are to go ahead. So it was good to hear that assurances have been given that the A&E department will be staying in Burton.
In this day and age within the NHS it makes sense to share expert resources and good practice so there will be areas where the two hospitals can work well together for the benefits of patients. There is no bottomless pit of money for the NHS and savings need to be made. Mergers such as this offer the opportunity to save money by combining two good organisations - and not compromising patient treatment.
It has already been revealed that stroke patients from the Burton area will be treated in Derby's specialist unit. This makes complete sense as patients need to go where they can get the best care and chance of a good recovery.
Of course all areas of any merger need to be investigated in detail from now on in and at the core needs to be patient care.