England

Epsom and St Helier NHS merger in doubt after pullout

Epsom Hospital
Image caption Epsom NHS is unable to achieve foundation trust status in its current form

Plans for the merger of several hospitals in Surrey and south London have been thrown into doubt.

Epsom Hospital was expected to merge with Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals, in Surrey.

St Helier's Hospital, in Carshalton, was due to merge with St. George's in Tooting.

However, St George's is no longer able to go ahead with the merger due to "financial challenges".

Epsom and St Helier hospitals are currently merged and would have split under the plans.

Matthew Hopkins, chief executive of the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust, described the news as "disappointing".

He said: "St George's have been clear to us that their decision is not based on our staff, nor the quality of the services we provide at St Helier and Sutton hospitals."

St George's Hospital said the current terms of the merger prevented it from proceeding further at this time.

Councillor Colin Stears, the executive member for health at Sutton Council, said: "We are stunned and hugely disappointed by St George's decision which raises worrying questions over the future of St Helier Hospital."

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