Merger to transform care for heart and lung patients gets go-ahead

Tuesday 15 December 2020

St Thomas' Hospital exterior

A proposed merger between Royal Brompton & Harefield Foundation Trust (RBH) and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust will proceed on 1 February 2021 following final approval from both Trusts' Boards and ratification by their Councils of Governors. The Council of Governors of Royal Brompton & Harefield ratified the merger plans at a meeting today signalling the final stage of the approvals process. The partnership will create one of the largest and strongest academic healthcare organisations in Europe.

Since 2017, Guy's and St Thomas' and Royal Brompton & Harefield have been working together, along with colleagues across King’s Health Partners (KHP), on plans to revolutionise care for people with heart and lung disease and to provide sustainability and security for the world-renowned specialist services currently provided at Royal Brompton Hospital.

Earlier this year, the boards of both Trusts decided that a full integration of the services provided by both organisations – effectively a merger – was the best way of achieving these aims.

The combined expertise of the Trusts' clinical and academic teams created through the merger will be unparalleled. Together the teams will continue to deliver exceptional care to patients and drive research into new and better treatments. This ambitious venture will create, in time and with the necessary consultation processes, a new centre of excellence for heart and lung disease on the St Thomas’ site.

The merged Trust will have academic partnerships with both Imperial College and King’s College London. It will also continue to have strong links with the NHS in north west London and other partners, including local government, given that it will be a significant provider of NHS services in the area for a long time to come.

Baroness Morgan of Huyton, chair of Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “This is a genuine milestone for the NHS. Our merged organisation will put the UK’s heart and lung care and research at the forefront of global efforts to combat these two debilitating diseases, which still account for many millions of deaths each year.

“I am delighted that after three years of close collaboration our two leading organisations will become one.”

Dr Richard Grocott-Mason, Acting Chief Executive of Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and managing director of RBH-KHP Partnership, said: “Healthcare will undergo radical transformation over the next ten years and healthcare providers need to respond. From our earliest discussions with Guy’s and St Thomas’, we realised we had the chance to create something new and dynamic with colleagues who shared our values and our appetite for innovation and transformation, which is vital if we are to break new ground in heart and lung disease treatment and research and in-turn, transform patient care.

“Patients are at the core of this merger, which has been clinically led from the start. They will be part of a dynamic and innovative network giving direct access to a wide range of medical expertise, from primary care right through to specialist care for rare conditions. We will continue to work closely with them as we take forward our plans.”

Professor Ian Abbs, Chief Executive at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a hugely significant moment in the history of both organisations, a once in a generation opportunity, working together and with colleagues across King's Health Partners, to create a centre of national and international importance devoted to the treatment of heart and lung disease. These remain among the most serious and deadly diseases, as has been amplified by the current pandemic, so it is hugely exciting to bring together our clinical and research expertise at this time. 

“Working together, we will also be able to deliver a sustainable future for the paediatric congenital heart disease services provided at the Royal Brompton, supporting the decision of the NHS England Board earlier this year.

“As with any merger, the real work is only just beginning, and we are hugely excited about the steps we can now begin to take to bring our organisations together and to realise the benefits that this will bring to our patients and staff for many years to come.”

Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals will continue to deliver world-class heart and lung care from their current sites for many years to come and patients will continue to see the clinical teams that they do now.

A public consultation on the integration of paediatric services within the Evelina London Children's Hospital on St Thomas' site, is planned by NHS England and Improvement to begin in summer 2021.

On 1 February 2021, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust will be dissolved and will become one of Guy’s and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust’s new clinical groups, with its board reporting into the Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust board.

Last updated: October 2023

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