Tooting’s MP has revealed he has “expressed reservations” to bosses at St George’s Hospital about a proposed merger with St Helier Hospital.

St George’s Healthcare has been formally invited to tender for partnership with the Sutton hospital, including Sutton Hospital and Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children – with a bid expected to be made on September 16.

The move comes in a year when St George’s is looking to save £55m in response to the Government’s £20bn NHS cuts programme. Union Unison has previously warned this could result in wards and beds being lost and a cap on the number of births handled at the Tooting hospital.

Sadiq Khan MP said a merger “had to be in the best interests of both hospitals and their patients”, and he expressed reservations to St George's interim chief executive on two occasions, and also the director of finance, adding he was worried the board and senior managers could be “distracted” by the merger.

He said: “There are many unanswered questions about the deficits of both hospitals and the financial pressures facing both Trusts. The recent loss of St George’s chief executive, and the impending departure of their long-standing chair, only adds to my concerns over what is the long-term interests of the hospitals.

“I am afraid the perception is that rather than clinical needs determining the conditions of the merger, there are other factors determining decisions. It is inevitable services for patients and staff will be lost at St George’s. It is noteworthy no one else bid to merge with St Helier, which is why some suspect the merger is a foregone conclusion.”

Meanwhile, politicians and doctors in Sutton have warned St Helier Hospital faces cuts to frontline services, including its accident and emergency department, from the proposed merger.

However, a spokesman for St George’s Healthcare strenuously denied any services would be moved from St Helier, claiming the merger was simply a management change.

Ros Given-Wilson, medical director at St George’s, said: “We want to take time over the next few weeks, as we develop our proposal for integrating with St Helier Hospital, to listen to the views of stakeholders and an event is being planned for August 18 with an event later on in September.

“Strong clinical and academic links already exist between St George’s Healthcare and St Helier and, by working together, we can improve the care we both provide to patients across south-west London.”

A St George’s Healthcare spokesman said: "It is still very early in the bidding process, but a merged organisation would allow St George’s Healthcare and St Helier Hospital to make management and back office savings.

"In 2010 St George’s Healthcare undertook a successful integration with Community Services Wandsworth. The trust is now responsible for delivering health services across the borough from Queen Mary’s Hospital, health centres, GP practices and in people’s homes.

"Having a larger and more flexible workforce has helped staff to gain experience and expertise in other areas of practice and has helped the trust to redesign patient pathways and reduce costs."

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