Three acute foundation trusts have revealed plans to ensure their survival through mergers, plans submitted to Monitor show.

A strategy document submitted by Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust said a merger with Northampton General Hospital “may be considered essential to ensure longer term viability”. It added this could result in the “implementation of single-site countywide services”.

Northampton told HSJ in May it was going for standalone foundation trust status and “there have been no discussions over a Kettering merger”. Its foundation trust plans have not yet been signed off by the Department of Health.

Kettering’s strategy document said it expects service reconfiguration plans to be “well advanced” by October. However it expressed concern at the “scope creep” of an acute services review that also includes Bedford, Milton Keynes, and Luton and Dunstable hospitals. The document said: “this may detract from what Kettering perceives to be the overriding need for integration of Northamptonshire acute services.”

Chief executive of the Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes primary care trust cluster John Parkes had earlier told HSJ: “The point of this exercise [the acute services review] would not be to see one of the hospitals close. Rather, it is about sizing the hospital capacity with the population and population growth, the desire for care closer to home and the development of clinical commissioning groups.

“But we will inevitably see a change in the level and number of services provided by the district general hospitals.”

Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust said its long term vision over the next five years was “a transformational reconfiguration” that could include the “full merger of a number of trusts to create Surrey University Hospitals Foundation Trust”. It said this merger would have the “scale and resilience to survive and prosper in the challenging times ahead”.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust’s strategy document said: “To support the trust’s strategy for a sustainable future, and recognising the need to explore growth opportunities, the possibility of a merger or acquisition has been discussed at a high level.”