St Anthony's Hospital in North Cheam is to be sold to a private company.

A group of nuns named The Daughters of the Cross of Liege have run the London Road Hospital for over a century but, as the nuns age, they have decided sell it to Spire Healthcare.

Spire is the second largest private provider in the country with 38 hospitals, 11 clinics and numerous other healthcare services and was chosen as the best buyer for the site by the trustees of the daughters of the cross.

The sale was finalised this afternoon.

Sister Veronica, chairwoman of the trustees of the Daughters of the Cross said: "St Anthony's Hospital has been part of our lives for many years, with its unique ethos of care and deep roots in the local community.

"We are sorry to see it go from our ownership, but very pleased that Spire will be taking the hospital forward to continue its good work with patients and staff from the local community for many years to come."

Rob Roger, chief executive of Spire, added: "We are delighted to have today signed an agreement to acquire St Anthony's, which will be a central platform for Spire's continued growth in cardiology and other areas of acute care.

"Its reputation is well founded and we look forward to welcoming the staff and patients into the Spire family."

The Daughters of the Cross will continue to run St Raphael's Hospice on the same site but have planned to sell the hospital for some time.