It was felt initially that Local Faculty Group integration would happen in advance of LAB integration. This philosophy was borne of a number of factors:
- Early discussion suggested little enthusiasm for LAB integration. However this discussion took place before the former Trusts merged and at a time when little discussion had taken place around clinical integration. The events surrounding the ill-conceived fit For the Future plan were still very much to the fore.
- We were, and at present still are, treated as two separate entities by HEKSS with respect to quality management, inspection and funding.
- Meeting just three times a year post merger would provide little visibility for the LABs.
Following discussion and consultation however the Educational Executive has taken the decision to combine the two LABs into one Trust-wide Local Academic Board from April 2010; the first new LAB meeting was on 30th April at Worthing. The reasons for early amalgamation are as follows:
- HEKSS has expressed a desire to combine the metrics for the two sites from 2010 or 2011. This will result in a single centre review for the Trust, a common inspection agenda for the two sites, combined finances and a single Educational contract. It seems disingenuous to have two LABs overseeing this unified process.
- Combining the LABs will promote operational efficiency and remove duplication across the sites. Specifically there will be just three LAB meetings a year (alternating between Worthing and St Richard’s on a rolling basis). This frequency of meetings is felt to be acceptable given the formation of the Educational Executive.
- The Trust Board has shown enthusiasm for integration of the LABs.
- Integration of the LABs will provide clear direction for the specialty Local Faculty Groups in setting their own integration processes.
- Integration of the LABs (and subsequently the LFGs) will bring clinicians together and may act as a catalyst for clinical integration.
- A combined LAB will ensure equivalent standards and fairness across the Trust in all educational matters (as will the Educational Executive).