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9 January 2012, 06:00
Two hospital trusts in Hampshire have merged to protect acute services.
Basingstoke and North Hampshire NHS Foundation Trust (Basingstoke) and Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust (Winchester) now fall under Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The trust will deliver services to 600,000 people across Hampshire and parts of West Berkshire, including at Basingtsoke, Winchester and Andover hopsitals.
The main driver behind the merger is that neither Basingstoke or Winchester trusts covered a large enough population to carry on delivering acute services like treating people injured in a big accident on the M3 or people who've had heart attacks or strokes.
But now the new trust will have enough staff and equipment to keep up those services.
Government policy states all NHS hospital trusts must become a foundation trust by 2014 - but because of financial issues Winchester couldn't do that on its own.
It does mean there could be new services added in the future. One idea is to offer treatment for people with spinal injuries who, at the moment, have to travel out of the area for help.
Another is to create a new hospital specialising in major trauma.
The move will save around £5 million but lead to around 70 job losses.
Mary Edwards is the Chief Executive;
"More senior staff, they've been through quite a worrying period of consultation and recruitment to new jobs but that's almost complete now, but that has been quite worrying for a number of them.
"We've obviously been holding vacancies for several months in both organisations to try and minimise the amount that is through redundancy."
The new foundation trust will be a £300 million pound business and will have to make a profit so it can reinvest in its services.