The collapse of the merger between Epsom Hospital and Ashford St Peter’s will have implications for proposed cuts at St Helier Hospital is was announced today.
Despite receiving lots of support the parties involved in the merger have been unable to develop a financially viable plan for Epsom Hospital as part of the merged trust.
Epsom Hospital was due to merge with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital in Surrey after it was decided that the current trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospital, was financially unviable to become a foundation trust in its current form.
The decision has implications for the NHS South West London Better Services Better Value (BSBV) programme which proposes St Helier should lose its accident and emergency, maternity and children’s wards.
BSBV’s proposals and pre-consultation business case have been built on the assumption that Epsom Hospital would not be part of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Urgent discussions will now take place to determine whether a way forward can be found.
These discussions will involve clinical commissioning groups in Surrey and south west London – who will take on future commissioning responsibilities – the new NHS Trust Development Authority, the NHS Commissioning Board and the two hospital trusts.
Ruth Carnall, chief executive of NHS London said: “NHS London has agreed today with the recommendation from the transaction board that the plan to de-merge Epsom Hospital from St Helier and for Epsom Hospital to then join with Ashford and St Peter’s should not proceed at this time.
“I am disappointed that this decision has had to be taken and want to acknowledge the great effort that has been undertaken to get to this stage.
“This has been a very complex process and a lot of work has gone into planning for the potential integration of these organisations.
“Working with our NHS partners we will now examine alternative options for the future of the hospitals. This must ensure they are sustainable – both financially and clinically – for the long term.”
Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Whilst we have no confirmed plans at this stage, we will be working closely with our local clinical commissioning groups, NHS partners and stakeholders to discuss and, in time, agree the next steps.
“All parties have been clear that the decision to halt the transaction is not based on the ability of our staff, nor the quality of the services we provide. We have to protect the interests of our patients and believe that this is the right decision at this point.”
Andrew Liles, chief executive of Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have put a lot of time and effort into developing these plans and are very disappointed that our collective hard work has not led to us being able to bring the three hospitals together to create a new Foundation Trust in Surrey.
“However, I am committed to taking part in the discussions to see if a way forward can be agreed where we play a part in the future of Epsom Hospital.”