HOSPITAL and community health services in Northumberland and North Tyneside have joined together.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust now manages hospital and community services in North Tyneside, and hospital, community and adult social care services in Northumberland.
Trust officials say that patients using services such as those provided by district nurses and health visitors, will not see an immediate change.
However, over time, these changes will mean that the trust can further improve the quality of care it offers patients.
As part of the transfer of services, staff working in community services, including adult social care in Northumberland, will join the trust.
Chief executive Jim Mackey said: “This is an exciting time for our trust and our staff.
“It is inevitable that these changes will impact on our organisation and how we work.
“However, we are committed to ensuring we build positively on the already-excellent services delivered across the community and in social care.
“Hospital-based care will no longer be our only focus.
“However, our priority will always be to continue to provide our patients with the best possible care, regardless of whether this is in hospital, in the community or at home.
“Having services under one roof, we will be able to improve communication, streamline processes, reduce duplication of services and improve the discharge of patients from hospital.
“We are also very excited about finding new ways of supporting people in their homes and avoiding hospitalisation where possible.”
The trust has been working on the change with partners including NHS North of Tyne, North Tyneside Primary Care Trust, Northumberland Care Trust, Northumberland Council, GPs and unions.