The leaders of South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and Jordan Hospital in Plymouth have decided that they will work together instead of competing with each other for patients.

The leaders of South Shore Hospital in Weymouth and Jordan Hospital in Plymouth have decided that they will work together instead of competing with each other for patients.

The boards of both hospitals approved a formal agreement last month to expand discussions between the hospitals about ways the two institutions can help each other and share resources.

Jordan Hospital President Alan Knight and South Shore Hospital President Richard Aubut said both hospitals are determined to stay independent and remain separate not-for-profit organizations. But they also said that it made sense for both hospitals to collaborate in ways that could help improve medical care in Southeastern Massachusetts.

‘‘We recognize that each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses,’’ said Knight, who plans to retire from his position next month. ‘‘If we work together, those strengths and weaknesses can complement each other.’’

Although the two hospitals serve overlapping markets, Aubut said that he doesn’t make management decisions based on competition with other hospitals in the region.

‘‘I don’t view the world that way, personally,’’ Aubut said. ‘‘As a CEO for a charity, my obligation is to deliver care ... I really don’t believe that the community looks at hospitals and hopes that one of us survives at the expense of the other.’’

The two executives said they expect to form a committee or committees of staffers who can explore the best ways the institutions can collaborate within the next few months.

Neither executive would provide details about specific programs that might be included in the collaborative effort. Knight said Aubut first reached out to him early this year about working together, and both hospitals’ boards became involved in the discussions a few months ago. Knight said he wanted to publicly acknowledge the collaboration now - partly to allay any fears that the discussions could lead to a merger - instead of waiting until the hospitals develop a specific plan.

The potential benefits that Knight envisions for Jordan Hospital could include improving access to specialized doctors and beefing up emergency room coverage.

‘‘There are a heck of a lot more reasons to work together versus working against each other,’’ Knight said. ‘‘We’re in the business of taking care of people. If we feel we can do a better job of that working together, it’s our responsibility to do so.’’

Jordan Hospital, with 160 beds about 1,600 employees, is considerably smaller than its northern counterpart. The 281-bed South Shore Hosptial employs about 3,500 people.

Jon Chesto of The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) may be reached at jchesto@ledger.com.