The merger of two Surrey hospitals has taken another step forward as the boards approved the full business cases and financial plans.
Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals and the Royal Surrey County Hospital announced their intention to merge in 2014.
On Thursday the boards of both hospital trusts approved their full business cases and financial plans independently at their respective board meetings.
The next stage is for an assessment by Monitor, the health sector regulator, and at a later stage, final approvals from boards and council’s of governors will be needed.
Chief executive of Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals, Suzanne Rankin, said: “The decision made by our boards this week brings the proposed merger of our two hospital trusts another step closer.
“We are delighted that both boards are in agreement and have approved the detailed plans which describe how the new organisation would operate over the next few years.
“The proposed merger is based around securing a stronger future for our two organisations which is imperative if we are to continue to provide high quality, acute care for patients across west Surrey.”
Peter Dunt, chief executive of the Royal Surrey County Hospital, said: “Whilst there is still a lot of hard work to do and important decisions to make, today’s announcement marks an important milestone in our planning.
“Both boards have spent considerable time and energy scrutinising these plans to ensure they are fit for purpose and will ensure a new organisation that is sustainable and successful for our patients.
“We are now looking forward to talking much more widely about our plans with staff and the wider public and hope that as many people as possible will engage with us over the next few months.”
Subject to full regulatory, board and governor approvals the earliest start date for the proposed new organisation would be summer 2016.
The proposal was rubber stamped by the Competition and Markets Authority in September last year, however the merger has faced criticisms from consultant staff at the Royal Surrey.
A number of public meetings will be held across the county throughout February and March.