The NHS foundation trust which runs SE1's two hospitals could merge with King's College Hospital and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust under proposals currently under consideration.
King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) was set up in 2009 as a joint organisation comprising three NHS trusts – Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley – and King's College London.
Now all four partner organisations have unanimously endorsed a recommendation from the King's Health Partners Board to prepare a strategic outline case to assess the benefits, costs and risks of establishing a single organisation.
"What we are considering isn't just another NHS merger – not only are we approaching this from a position of strength financially, but we will be creating a totally new type of organisation that brings closely together mental and physical healthcare with research, education and training at its highest level," says Professor Robert Lechler, executive director of King's Health Partners.
"Working as one, alongside our university partner King's College London, will mean we have the potential to fully transform the delivery of healthcare to our local patients and beyond, creating a system rated amongst the best in the world.
"This is a hugely significant moment for our AHSC. However, it is only the first step along the road to integration. As we develop the strategic outline case we will be engaging with staff and patients as well as healthcare providers and commissioners in south London to ensure that our new organisation is able to deliver the very best patient care possible and speed up the time it takes for research discoveries to become routine clinical practice."