Simon Hughes has told the House of Commons that Southwark and Lambeth's MPs believe that plans for a merger of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust with King's College Hospital and the South London and Maudsley Trust should be put on hold.
The five Members of Parliament for Southwark and Lambeth – Lib Dem Simon Hughes and Labour's Kate Hoey, Harriet Harman, Chuka Umunna and Dame Tessa Jowell – are said to believe that no decision on a merger between local NHS trusts should be taken until the future of the troubled South London Healthcare NHS Trust is resolved.
That trust, which runs services in Beckenham, Bromley, Orpington, Sidcup and Woolwich – is currently being run by 'special administrator' Matthew Kershaw who is tasked with making recommendations for the future organisation of local healthcare.
Speaking at health question time in the Commons on Tuesday, Simon Hughes asked Jeremy Hunt: "When the secretary of state considers outer south-east London health arrangements, and problems that are not at all of his making, will he bear in mind that all five Members of Parliament for Southwark and Lambeth are clear that plans by King's Health Partners for a super-trust across Lambeth, Southwark and beyond should be put on hold until we know the implications for inner south-east London of any changes that happen further out?"
Mr Hunt replied: "I will certainly bear in mind the right honourable gentleman's comments.
"The decision time scale for the South London Healthcare NHS Trust is very quick as prescribed in the National Health Service Act 2006. I must make a decision on that by 1 February, so the situation will soon become clear."
In September Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey voiced her concerns about the proposed merger at the Guy's & St Thomas' annual public meeting and complained that local people had not been adequately involved in the process.
Next week Southwark's cross-party health scrutiny sub-committee will question representatives of King's Health Partners about the plans to bring the three trusts together into a single organisation.
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