COMPLAINTS have been made about the way the merger of Poole and the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals is being carried out.

The complaints to the independent regulator Monitor follow the announcement of a Bournemouth-dominated shadow board of directors for the proposed merged trust.

On Tuesday night, 36 out of the 40 Poole councillors present backed an emergency motion expressing “mounting concern” over the process. The other four abstained.

The merger will be the first in the country of two foundation trusts if it is given the go-ahead and could take place next summer.

All seven of the shadow executive directors – the chief executive, medical director, finance director and the directors of strategy, operations, human resources and nursing – are from the current RBCH board, as is chairman Jane Stichbury.

Three of the seven non-executive directors are from Poole.

One of the complainants contacted by the Daily Echo said: “I am totally in favour of a merger but it was an unfair process. It’s no longer a merger, it’s a takeover.

“That’s how it must appear to many of the staff and patients from Poole.”

In a joint statement, RBCH chief executive Tony Spotswood and Poole Hospital chief Chris Bown said the recruitment process for the shadow board was fair and independent and had been agreed beforehand by both trusts’ boards and councils of governors.

“This merger is not about individuals, nor indeed the organisations, but is essential to ensure not only the further development of patient services but their sustainability over the coming years,” said the pair.

“The proposed board will now consider how the knowledge and experience at Poole is best represented in the future. In developing the culture of the new organisation, the board will look to the best of both trusts.”

Mr Spotswood added: “I think we have made the appointments that were necessary in order to take the new organisation forward.”

A spokeswoman for Monitor said: “There is no evidence that the due process has not been followed. This is a local matter for the trusts.

“We will look at the merger in detail when the trusts submit their application to us.”

How selection system worked

  • Recruitment of shadow chairman led by equal number of governors from each trust.
  • She and an equal number of governors from each trust appoint seven shadow non-executive directors.
  • She leads appointment of shadow chief executive with two shadow non-executive directors from each trust.
  • Proposed shadow executive directors each interviewed by panel including proposed chairman, chief executive and one non-executive director from each of Poole and RBCH.