Plans for a major reconfiguration of services in London have been halted after a neighbouring primary care trust said it wanted to become more involved in the process.

The Better Services, Better Value process set up by the NHS South West London primary care trust cluster had been running for 17 months and was due to go to consultation before NHS Surrey intervened earlier this month.

The reconfiguration has been opposed by local MP Paul Burstow, who was a health minister until last month.

NHS South West London said in a statement it would now recommend to its board that the consultation was delayed “because NHS Surrey wish to more fully understand the impact of BSBV on their residents who use NHS services in south west London”.

The BSBV proposals include moving emergency and maternity work away from St Helier, part of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, which has sites either side of the Surrey/London border.

NHS South West London said Surrey’s intervention meant the BSBV programme would “now need more time to carry out further detailed analysis of the impact of proposals and implications for the NHS in Surrey”.

No date has been set for when this work will conclude.

The BSBV process would see emergency and maternity services concentrated in the other three hospitals in south west London: St George’s Healthcare Trust, Kingston Hospital Trust and Croydon Healthcare Services Trust.

One source close to BSBV told HSJ: “You would have thought the issue might have struck [NHS Surrey] earlier.  

“My concern is that their late intervention, along with [health secretary] Jeremy Hunt’s ‘leadership’ may mean that nothing happens and south west London is left with four sub-optimal, clinically unsafe, not-fit-for-purpose hospitals indefinitely.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Surrey said the £1.7bn commissioning organisation would now be “at the centre of any discussions and decisions that could impact on Surrey and our patients”.

Another local source suggested the fate of South London Healthcare Trust in a different corner of London might be a factor.

Although south east London is a largely distinct health economy from south west London, HSJ has been told the reconfiguration due to be proposed by the SouthLondon’s special administrator at the end of this month is expected to be so radical it could also affect the south west.

A hospital de-merger planned for south west London has also been delayed.

The transactions board set up by Epsom and St Helier to manage the break-up of the hospitals has announced a delay to the takeover of Epsom hospital by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The merger was supposed to be complete by April 2013 but has been delayed to July 2013.

When the de-merger process was begun in December 2010, there were expressions of interest from St George’s Healthcare Trust for St Helier and a joint bid from Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust and private provider Circle for Epsom.

St George’s subsequently withdrew their bid, as did Circle, leaving Ashford and St Peter’s the sole bidder.

Epsom’s elective orthopaedic centre is the largest hip and knee replacement centre in the UK and a major source of income-generating work for the three south west London hospital trusts who are partners in it along with Epsom and St Helier.