South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has entered a partnership agreement with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, creating a new hospital group.

The two Teesside hospital trusts announced plans to form this hospital group earlier this year.

This collaboration is designed to enhance patient outcomes across Teesside and nearby areas.

The formal agreement aims to reinforce collaborative efforts among the hospitals, building on a foundation set by last year’s establishment of a joint chair role.

This alliance will focus on enhancing specialist medical staff recruitment and retention, engaging with local communities to boost health and wellbeing.

South Tees and North Tees trusts plan to raise capital investment for rebuilding and updating existing hospital infrastructure in Teesside and North Yorkshire.

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Both trusts have previously formed a Joint Partnership Board to address their common concerns.

Under the new hospital group model, each trust retains its statutory independence, with no execution of merger.

Such a model is set to evolve over the next two years, prioritising community-based initiatives.

The initiative reflects a national trend of NHS organisations seeking closer collaboration in the post-pandemic landscape.

With a history of cooperative work, the two trusts were instrument in the cross-referral of patients for specialised treatments such as cardiac care and pain management, and in the shared efforts of cancer surgeons during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

NHS said that by formalising this relationship through the formation of a hospital group, the trusts will be better equipped to retain and bring in specialist physicians and nursing staff in difficult-to-find locations through improved combined workforce planning and partnership on both trusts’ common goals.