Health bosses have named four hospital departments which currently exist at both NGH and KGH, that may in future be provided from only one county hospital.
The areas being looked at are radiology (scans and X-Rays); rheumatology and orthopaedics (bone and muscle disorders); and ophthalmology (the eye department).
Plans are being drawn up to see how doctors and specialists in Northampton and Kettering could set up countywide departments at either site instead of duplicating services.
ack-office roles are also being looked at including IT, estates, finance and payroll and human resources.
The programme, called Healthier Northamptonshire, has been known about in vague terms for two years, but this is the first time any specific departments have been mentioned. Healthier Northamptonshire is designed to make certain specialisms more efficient and it is also expected to save much-needed money.
NHS bosses have also previously argued that concentrating certain specialist care in one place is better for patients as doctors and consultants gain experience far quicker. Models of Northamptonshire-wide hospital departments already exist, with NGH hosting the county’s stroke centre and KGH hosting its cardiology centre.
However, concerns have been expressed at the lack of patient involvement so far by Rosie Newbigging, head of health watchdog, Healthwatch Northamptonshire, which has been excluded from the talks.
She said: “We are absolutely concerned about not being involved.
“Patient and public engagement should be at the heart of service change like this.
“If there are decisions to be made around collaboration between the hospitals, we want to understand them.
“The plans may well be sensible, but it’s important that we’re able see the detail to make sure.”