Merger Ahead for NHSU

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Just 12 months after it was set up, the NHS university - NHSU - is set to disappear.

NHSU will merge with NHS Modernisation Agency, the NHS Leadership Centre and the proposed new National Innovation Centre into a single NHS Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation.

The move is part of a government commitment to reduce the number of heath "arms length bodies" from 38 to 20.

It is planned that the new organisation will be established by July 2005, but the NHSU says it has already been working in close partnership with the Modernisation Agency’s Leadership Centre to create a new School of Leadership, Management and Improvement within NHSU.

NHSU’s Chair Barbara Stephens described the new organisation as "an opportunity to drive forward the agenda for innovation, learning and improvement in the NHS".

"NHSU has been fully operational for only a year, and the reasons for setting it up, the objectives it set itself and the ways of working it espoused still hold and are still important," she said. 'The Board therefore hopes that these will be carried forward into the new organisation, and looks forward to working with the Advisory Board on how best to make that happen.'

Chief executive of NHSU Prof Bob Fryer will take up new position to champion learning across the NHS as national director for widening participation in learning with the department of Health.

Prof Fryer will act as a learning champion, spearheading a major programme to broaden participation in learning for existing NHS staff as well as amongst people seeking to take up professional careers in health and social care.

Professor Fryer will take up his position in January 2005.

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