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Fusion - Frequently asked questions

Project Fusion is the working title for a programme of work to bring together community, mental health and learning disability services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight into one single, new NHS Trust.  You can find out more of the background on this work on our page Project Fusion - Bringing together services.

We have also compiled a useful list of frequently asked questions and answers below to help you understand more about this work.  If you have any other questions or concerns or would like to talk to us about the programme please contact us at 

What are we doing?

We are bringing four local NHS Trusts together as one, new NHS Trust for all community, mental health and learning disability services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with local divisions to focus on continuing to deliver in our communities. This has been given the temporary name Project Fusion.

Who is involved?

The organisations involved are: Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, (the latter delivering Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Hampshire).

We will also be continuing to work closely with other local NHS service providers, local authorities, voluntary and independent service providers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Why are we doing this?

A key priority for the NHS in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is ensuring that communities have equal access to services and have the opportunity to achieve the same health outcomes. We know that over the coming years the demand for community and mental health services will increase. Our physical and mental health services are already responding to increasing need, both in terms of the number being referred and the complexity of issues they present with. Against this backdrop, continuing to improve and transform the services we provide, as well as having an even greater focus on integration between mental and physical health, is vitally important. 

In January 2022, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System commissioned an independent review of community, mental health and learning disability services. The purpose of the review was to understand how to best meet the current and future demands of our local populations. The review looked carefully at the evidence and involved a range of clinicians, partners, and stakeholders, as well as existing insight and feedback from people who use local community and mental health services.

The review resulted in five key recommendations which are being taken forward in a joint programme of work.

One of the review’s key recommendations is that a new organisation be formed, to bring together all NHS community, mental health and learning disability services provided in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, including services provided by Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, (the latter delivering Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Hampshire).

What are the benefits of creating one organisation?

The review makes the case that bringing together our services in this way would improve consistency of care between these services and the organisations which are currently responsible for different parts of peoples’ care. It would also make sure people have the same access to services and experience the same health outcomes. We believe that working even more closely together is the right approach for the benefit of our patients, their families, and communities. The rationale for the recommendation is aligned with, and builds upon, the steps we have already taken to work more closely together. It will also continue to enable our staff to work together to best meet the needs of patients and help us to recruit and retain staff more easily, offering wider career progression and development opportunities.

In March 2022, the Boards of each of the partner organisations involved (Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust) formally approved the strategic case. This is the first step to achieving the ambition of creating a new, combined organisation by the proposed date of April 2024.  The Strategic Case, which has Integrated Care Board support, has now been shared with NHS England for review. 

What are the timescales and key milestones?

Our ambition is to create a new organisation by April 2024. The creation of a new organisation will be a starting point from which we will continue to develop our services – it won't all be done by day one. We are working with service users, Healthwatch, and the local authority to help develop our priorities. 

There are some key decision points along the way. The Strategic Case was agreed by all Boards in March. This is being presented to NHS England for regulatory review. We are now developing a Full Business Case, which will be considered by our Boards, the Integrated Care Board and NHS England.

Is this about cost savings?

This is about enabling people to have equal access to better coordinated community, mental health and learning disability services.

There may be opportunities to do things more efficiently as one organisation and managing the cost is important, but this is not the driving reason behind this work. 

How will this impact staff?

We expect that these changes will not directly impact the vast majority of staff.

With the national workforce challenges, we need more, not fewer, frontline staff and creating a single organisation will not change this.

It is completely natural for changes like this to bring feelings of uncertainty and we will work with staff to bring as much clarity as possible and to involve people in this process.

How can I stay up to date on all the developments?

We will continue to keep people informed about how the plan to develop the new organisation is progressing. We will do this by providing information:

  • On our individual websites
  • Directly to people who work for and with the four organisations e.g., our staff and partners
  • Face-to-face in our conversations with community groups
  • Via the local media when there is news to announce or events happening in which people can get involved
  • Other communications where appropriate e.g., posters advertising events, local newsletters, and social media.

How can I get involved?

We are actively looking to hold community conversations about Project Fusion and to capture people’s knowledge, experience, hopes and concerns to help inform the development of our detailed plan. As we develop our plan, we may also have specific questions about individual services that we want to discuss with you.

Throughout this process we will make sure we reach a broad mix of people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight including those groups of people who are seldom heard to capture your thoughts and feedback.

If you are part of a community group or organisation, please invite us to come and talk to you and listen to your views. Contact us at

Or if you have a question or want to share your views directly with us you can also use the same email address to contact us.

How are clinicians involved?

A clinical delivery group has been set up led by senior clinicians from all the organisations involved. This brings together operational and clinical executives from across Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The group will support the clinical planning that will help ensure to people have equal access to care services and the same experience and health outcomes.

How are patients, carers and families being involved?

Involving our patients, carers and families in this process is important and we have developed a detailed engagement plan, working with local Healthwatches and community partners, to ensure we do this effectively.

Conversations have already started with our local patient and carer groups and with our community partners. In addition, we have established an engagement working group to help steer the way we engage with and involve people. We will continue to build upon this work in the coming months.

How can you be sure to capture the good things about each of the Trusts’ services, so it's not lost?

We are already talking about the great work that happens within all the organisations and thinking about what learning we can take from one another.

We are also talking to service users, their families, carers, the community and our staff and partners to capture their feedback about things that are working particularly well that we may want to replicate across the area as we work more closely together.

Will the organisation still be focussed on working with local communities and places?

Absolutely. Local care is central to patients’ health outcomes, and this will not change if we become a single organisation.

How are you learning from other acquisitions and mergers that have happened before?

Many colleagues in our organisations will have previous memories of organisations coming together. It is very important that we learn from these lived experiences and to learn from other changes that have happened in the wider NHS.

Will you be reducing the number of buildings you provide services from?

Making the best use of the buildings we provide services from is a key NHS priority and something we are already looking at. This work will continue if we become a single organisation.

Any changes to the buildings we provide services from will be carefully considered and discussed with all those involved.

I've heard that a review of community hospital beds is happening, is this the case?

One of the recommendations in the independent review, which was undertaken to explore these proposals, was to review the use of community beds across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

This will be explored further as part of the next phases of the programme, working in partnership with colleagues from the Integrated Care Board and local partners providing hospital based (acute) services.

How is all this work being paid for?

We are working across our organisations and with our colleagues who are part of the Integrated Care Board, to ensure there are enough resources to carry out this programme of work in a way which does not impact on funding for frontline services. We are clear that the benefits of closer working far outweigh any potential costs.

Will there be more investment in community, mental health and learning disability services as a result of this?

One of the recommendations from the Community, Mental Health and Learning Disability Services Review is to establish a long-term plan for the funding for community and mental health services to make sure people in each area have the same access to services and the same level of support.

We will be working with our Integrated Care Board colleagues to take this recommendation forwards.

How will you maintain safe, high-quality care during this process?

During the process, services will continue as normal. There is a dedicated programme to manage the changes in a way which minimises the impact on day-to-day services.

Is this a merger or an acquisition?

We will be carrying out this work as a coming together of equal partners, taking what's best from all organisations and building upon this. No one organisation will be leading this work.

Whatever the technical approach of this business arrangement, we will be working with staff, patients, and stakeholders to develop a brand-new organisation, with a new identity, name, structure, and culture.

Will the merger impact on how my data is shared?

The newly formed organisation would be legally responsible for all data and would develop one clinical information system. The same standards of confidentiality and security that apply to all NHS organisations will remain in place. As it is now, your information will only be accessed by those who need to provide you with care and (in very limited circumstances) others with a specific legitimate and lawful need.