Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

We know our patients, carers and family members, colleagues and partners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will have plenty of questions about our plans. Below are a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) which we will update over the coming months as our plans develop.

We are bringing together NHS community, mental health and learning disability services across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, currently provided by four separate NHS Trusts, into a single new NHS Trust by July 2024.  We will continue, through this arrangement, to deliver these services in each of our local communities close to where people live.  This work has been given the temporary name Project Fusion.

The organisations involved are: Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust (mental health and community services only), and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Hampshire only). 


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. 

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 (mental health and community services only, and Hampshire’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services which are currently provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

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. 

Our ambition is to create the new organisation by July 2024.

The creation of a new organisation will be a starting point from which we will continue to develop our services – it will not all be done by day one. We are working with service users, local Healthwatch organisations, and the local community to help develop our priorities.  

There are some key decision points along the way. In March 2023, 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. In May 2023, the strategic case was then shared with NHS England for their review and we were given the go-ahead to continue to develop the full business case. This full business case was approved by the Trust Boards in November and was reviewed by NHS England.

Between January and March 2024, the Executive Directors who will lead the new Trust were appointed and announced. These directors will take up their roles when the new Trust is formed.

In February 2024, the majority of Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provided previously by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, transferred successfully into Southern Health.

In March 2024 it was decided to adopt a phased approach to creating the new Trust, changing the original launch date from April 2024 to July 2024:

  • We are aiming for the Isle of Wight community, mental health and learning disability services to transfer to Southern Health on 1 May 2024
  • We are aiming for the transfer of Solent NHS Trust services, and the creation of the new Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to take place on 1 July. This new Trust will encompass all services from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Solent NHS Trust, and the community, mental health and learning disabilities services from Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

In the meantime there is lots of work happening to plan and be ready for the organisations to come together in July.

The new Trust will have a Board made up of a Chair, Chief Executive, Non-Executive Directors and Executive Directors. This Board will be in place ready for when the new Trust launches in July 2024, and all posts have been appointed to.

The chair of the new organisation has been appointed.  Her name is Lynne Hunt.  Her appointment was formally made by the Council of Governors of Southern Health as the legal body founding the new trust.  You can read about Lynne here

The Chief Executive designate of the new organisation has also been appointed.  His name is Ron Shields and he was appointed by a panel including a range of stakeholders, staff and community partners.  You can read more about this here.

The Non-Executives for the new Trust have been appointed, comprising colleagues from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight Trust, and Solent NHS Trust.

The new Executive Directors have been appointed.


This is about enabling people to have equal access to better coordinated, more consistent 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. 

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

Those who work in or support the services to be delivered by the new Trust will continue to do so.  This will either be by virtue of continued employment (Southern Health staff) or transfer of employment (Solent, Isle of Wight, and Sussex staff).  Trusts will inform and consult with their affected staff and trade unions about these changes.

It is completely natural for changes like this to bring feelings of uncertainty and we are working with staff to communicate changes clearly and to involve people in this process. ​​​​​​​

No.  Services will still be delivered locally in each area.  You will only need to travel more if you choose to have your health treatment somewhere else or if you need to access specialist services that are not available in your local area, as you do currently.

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 and a dedicated Project Fusion microsite
  • Directly to people who work for and with the four organisations e.g., our staff, trade unions and partners. 
  • Face-to-face in our conversations with community groups, roadshows and events
  • 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, local newsletters, and social media. 

We hold regular community conversations about Project Fusion, 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.

Or if you have a question or want to share your views directly with us, please also get in touch.

You can contact

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

A clinical strategy for the new organisation outlining the principles that will guide the way we work, will be published in November.

Clinicians are also involved in detailed planning to minimise any disruption to patient care when the new organisation comes into being.

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

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

For more information about getting involved, visit these pages on the Fusion website:

Get involved :: Project Fusion (


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. 

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

Yes services will continue to provide tailored support that meets the needs of the local population.

The new organisation will continue to provide services close to home in each local area.  People will continue to receive inpatient services, if required, in their local area.  People will only have to travel outside of their area if they either choose to have their treatment provided elsewhere or if they need to access specialist services which require them to be treated in a specific location.

Many colleagues in our organisations will have previous memories of organisations coming together. Work has been done and will continue, to capture key learning from these and other organisational changes in the wider NHS.

On day one, you will continue to receive the same services from the same teams in your local area.  The only difference you should notice when we come together is our new name.

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.  

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. 


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. 

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. 

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.  

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. 

The newly formed organisation will be legally responsible for all data and will, in time, develop one clinical information system. In the short-term existing systems will remain the same for each local area, unless they can be safely merged before the point of launch. 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.  

Prior to February 2024, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust currently delivered community CAMHS in Hampshire. As part of these proposals, the CAMHS services that align most closely to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight health and care system transferred to Southern Health as part of the process towards creating the new Trust. A small number of CAMHS services in Hampshire are more closely aligned to the services in the Frimley health and care system. These services transferred to Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. This is following the principle of organising services to best meet the need of specific local populations.

In the short-term we do not anticipate any significant changes to local services.  They will continue to be provided in each local area by the same teams.

However, our clinical teams will be taking a close look at services provided across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and sharing information about what is working well and what improvements need to be made.  This will consider both clinical data as well as feedback from service users and local communities.  If any changes are needed, discussions will take place with all those affected before these are put in place.

Yes. There are charities and charitable funds associated with the existing organisations and colleagues are working together to decide just how things will look in the new Trust.

There are no anticipated cuts to funding as the new organisation is formed.  Support to service users will continue at the current levels.

We will continue to support people from all backgrounds and diverse needs in our local communities to help ensure they have equal access to services, the same experience of those services and the same health outcomes, no matter where they live.

In the short term these changes alone will not help to reduce waiting lists, but neither will the size of the organisation mean that they will increase.  Much work is being done nationally across all NHS Trusts to help reduce the waiting times for patients and we will continue that work in the new organisation. 

By joining together, we aim to be able to make access to services more consistent and straightforward, which may help to reduce waiting times. We will also be in a better position to recruit staff to fill our vacancies which will also help to alleviate the pressures caused by workforce shortages which inevitably impact on our services.

Early intervention and ill-health prevention remain a key priority for us as we develop the new trust in line with the wider priorities of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board. 

As we work together to look at our services across the area and the things we can share that are working well and the things we need to do to make improvements and ensure consistency of service access and care across the area, this will continue to be a key focus.

Four options for the Trust’s new visual identity were shared with local community groups across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and colleagues from Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, and Hampshire CAMHS colleagues from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. During the engagement period, we asked people to vote on their preferred option, keeping in mind which design was most memorable them, most representative of our goal, and most representative of the new organisation and how they think it should feel. We also asked people to share their open feedback.

All suggestions have been taken and considered against the wider NHS identity guidance, as well as what may be practical for staff, service users and communities. A preferred option was chosen and this will become the new branding for the new organisation. The new branding features blues, greens and greys and the use of imagery representing the people, communities and lanscapes of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The new branding is within the wider scope of the overall NHS branding, so people can easily see that the new Trust is part of the NHS.

We do not plan to recall printed literature which is currently in-use. However, anything produced from April 2024 will incorporate the new Trust branding. Patients receiving letters sent after 1 July 2024 will recieve this in the new Trust's name
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust) and branding. Signage will be replaced as we move further into 2024/25.

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