New era for local NHS services as new NCA Foundation Trust launches

1 October 2021
  • Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Trusts formally become one single NHS Trust
  • NCA Trust will become one of the largest NHS organisations in country, employing 20,000 staff
  • Transfer will mark formal dissolution of The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust after 20 years
  • Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Trusts have worked successfully together for 5 years since 2017
  • Staff are celebrating new era for the organisation, creating certainty and positive future together

Today, two of the largest Trusts in Greater Manchester - Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (SRFT) and The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (PAT) - will formally become one single NHS Trust – known as the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust will become one of the largest NHS organisations in the country, employing over 20,000 staff.

Staff working across its four hospitals and community healthcare services in Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and Salford are celebrating the start of a “new era” for the organisation, giving certainty and hope for the future of NHS provision in these communities.

As Salford Royal and Pennine Acute Trusts have worked together as one organisation under a group arrangement (Northern Care Alliance NHS Group) since 2017, it is anticipated that the impact of the formal transfer and creation of the new Trust will be minimal for both staff and patients.

Importantly, the names and identities of the Trust’s four hospital sites will remain unchanged.

Following approval from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the transfer will also mark the formal dissolution of The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (PAT) which has been running as the local hospital Trust provider for nearly 20 years, established in January 2002.

Since Salford Royal has teamed up with Pennine Acute through the NCA Group over the past five years, the organisation has been on a journey to bring both services and staff together to help deliver significant improvements - including the quality of care and standards - which have been recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

In recognition of the increased population and communities Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust will serve, SRFT will formally change its registered name to Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.

The NCA brings together four hospitals, 2,000 beds, specialist and acute services, a range of associated community healthcare and social care services. The Trust’s highly-skilled 20,000-strong workforce – “NCA family” – is made up of four Care Organisations, diagnostics and pharmacy services, and many other support teams, all dedicated to saving lives and improving lives.

The first part of the PAT transfer was completed on 1 April 2021 when North Manchester General Hospital was transferred to Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) as part of previous plans for the Single Hospital Service for the City of Manchester and Trafford. 

The NCA is investing in and developing new digital technologies and systems, creating new models of care and integrated services, sharing skills and learning, and investing in its people and services.

Professor Michael Luger (pictured), Chair of Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This marks the start of a new era for our organisation and for everyone who works and volunteers across our hospitals and services.

Today is a monumental day for the NCA. We formally transition from two Trusts to a single, joined-up organisation - the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust.

We are delighted that this day has arrived. A great deal of work has been going on behind the scenes, involving many of our teams, working with our partners, to bring us to this point. And we have already seen the benefits of bringing our staff and services together under one group over the past five years.

“We can now focus our attention and efforts on what is important – investing in and further transforming and integrating our services for our staff, patients and service users.

“The NCA will continue to take an active role across our four localities in Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and Salford, working with our place-based partners to drive further integration and improvements in the health outcomes of the communities we serve.

“I also want to thank our staff for everything they do every day for each other and for those who need our care. It is right that we come together today to recognise the exceptional hard undertaken and look forward to a positive future, together.”

Comments from local NHS staff

RochdaleKaren Archibald.jpg

Karen Archibald (pictured), Lead Nurse for Integrated and Community services at Rochdale Infirmary, celebrates 35 years with the organisation this week, she said:

“I’m celebrating 35 years working for Pennine Acute this week, from starting work with the local Rochdale Health Authority back in 1986, right through to working for the newly formed Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust today. A whole life’s career that I’m so proud to have had, working with some fantastic people and teams. Now we move into the new era of the NCA with hope, and optimism. Bring it on!”

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Dr Roger Prudham, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Lead Cancer Clinician for the NCA, based at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, said: 

“This formal coming together of the two parts of our Group – Pennine Acute and Salford Royal - is a pivotal moment for us. As a new combined NHS Foundation Trust we will see further investment and development across our services, giving us a real and significant opportunity to improve and transform, working with our local and Greater Manchester partners.

“I am hugely proud of the work we’ve done to improve cancer services, including the development of our Rapid Diagnostic Centres across NCA, based in Rochdale and Salford and the imminent launch of Community Diagnostic Hubs.  I’m hopeful and optimistic that as we recover from the pandemic the NCA is now in a stronger position than ever to help patients who need our care.”

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Dawn Lee, Birth Centre Manager at The Royal Oldham Hospital, has worked for the Trust since 1989. She said:

“There have been so many changes since I began my career here; I was part of the national Project 2000 nursing programme and have worked in a number of areas, from intensive care supporting families enduring their worst moments to our fantastic birth centre where we share such joy with people welcoming their new babies. The team here are like extended family, and although I’m approaching the end of my professional career now, I’m sure that the NCA will continue to develop and care for our local communities for many years to come.”

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New recruit Conner Ellison joined the NCA last year via the Kickstart Government apprenticeship scheme and, following a six-month placement, has now secured a permanent job as a Pathology Bio Lab Receptionist at Salford Royal. He said:

“There are so many different roles that make up the organisation and being part of such a large team is fantastic. In pathology every day is a different day. I’m learning lots of interesting things and new skills on the job and I’m excited for what the future holds for me as part of the NCA Family, as I know there will be opportunities to go further and develop my career. It’s also great to have my hours reliably in every week and I’ve even increased my working hours to 36 from the contracted 25.”

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