Guy’s and St Thomas’ officially merges with Chelsea’s Royal Brompton hospital

Josh Salisbury (02 February, 2021)

Hospital bosses say it means a world-class centre for heart and lung disease - but councillors have raised fears of job losses at the Trust

34403Exterior of St Thomas' Hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals have officially joined in a merger with the Royal Brompton and Harefield.

The new enlarged Trust will see the Royal Brompton forming a ‘clinical group’ within the organisation with the aim of transforming for lung and heart conditions.

The longstanding plan means children’s services at the Royal Brompton will move to an enlarged Evelina in around five to six years time.

Meanwhile, Trust bosses hope to build a new centre for heart and lung conditions at St Thomas’. Both will be subject to public consultation.

Trust CEO, Professor Ian Abbs, has hailed the move as a “once in a generation opportunity to build a lasting, world-renowned heart and lung centre.”

“We have already demonstrated that by working together we can achieve more for our patients, not least during our current pandemic response, where partnership working has helped us care for many patients requiring the most specialist treatment,” he said.

However, Southwark councillors have previously raised fears that the merger could lead to job losses and service cuts.

Speaking at a scrutiny meeting of the plans in November, Cllr Bill Williams said: “There’s always a business case for a merger, it’s never purely ever bringing two brands together to create a super brand, it never is.

“I think people are naive to believe it. You’re going to have a six month review, inevitably there will be redundancies, whether they’re voluntary… but there will be job losses.”

Senior figures at both hospital trusts moved to quash fears of redundancies, saying any review would be about ironing out operational issues.

“We’re convinced we’re going to need as many people as we currently have to continue providing the services we currently run,” said Robert Craig, director of development at the Royal Brompton.

Chelsea-based councillors have also raised fears that the Brompton’s hospital estate could be sold off. Mr Craig also rejected this in November, saying: “As far as we can see in the foreseeable future, we’re going to continue using it as a hospital.”

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