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Southport and Ormskirk to partner with neighbouring trust

2:38 pm  //  2nd September 2021

Southport and Ormskirk hospitals are to partner with a neighbouring NHS trust to help secure services for patients.

The board of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust this week unanimously approved a proposal that the Trust should enter a partnership with St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The decision has the backing of NHS England.

St Helens and Knowsley (STHK) is a high-performing trust, rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and scores highly in the annual NHS Staff Survey. The two trusts also have a record of working together – mostly notably, Southport and Ormskirk’s pathology service has been provided with the support of Whiston hospital since 2014.

The partnership agreement for a long-term collaboration will:

  • Sustain the delivery of improved outcomes for patients
  • Ensure high quality and sustainable hospital services
  • Give staff greater flexibility to develop their professional skills
  • Makes best use of available resources
  • Share with Southport and Ormskirk the benefits and experiences of a trust rated “outstanding”


The partnership will also complement the Shaping Care Together programme underway with local health and social care partners in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire which aims to future-proof NHS services.

Neil Masom, the Chair of Southport and Ormskirk board, said: “The Trust has made significant progress over the past 18 months to stabilise and improve service quality for patients. Only this year, the CQC reported improvements in all areas inspected.

“However, we still face significant challenges, especially around a dozen or so ‘fragile’ clinical services which we are unlikely to be able to continue providing alone. We can only do this with the support of the wider NHS.”

Despite recent improvements, he added, underlying weaknesses in the Trust’s finances also persisted as did attracting and retaining colleagues in a highly competitive labour market.

Ann Marr

He said: “Put simply, we have the skill and the will but not the resources or the scale to be the outstanding hospitals our community deserve. So, it is important for everyone, not least our patients, that we don’t slip back on the hard-won progress made over the past few years.”

To maximise the benefits of the new arrangement for both organisations, the Southport and Ormskirk board has agreed changes to its structure when current Chief Executive Trish Armstrong-Child takes up her new role leading Blackpool hospitals.

The board has appointed Ann Marr OBE, Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, to be the Trust’s new chief executive.

Anne-Marie Stretch, who is currently Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Human Resources at STHK, has also been appointed to the

Anne-Marie Stretch

new post of managing director. She will have day-to-day management responsibility for the Trust and lead the executive team which is otherwise unchanged.

Both Ann and Anne-Marie will become members of the Southport and Ormskirk board. Ann will also continue as Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley.

These arrangements become effective from Monday 20 September 2021.

Ann Marr said: “Working together in partnership gives us the opportunity to provide high quality and sustainable services to all of the people we serve.  We are very much looking forward to working closely with our skilled and committed colleagues at Southport and Ormskirk.”



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