A consultation on the reconfiguration of hospital services in north east London is expected to start before the end of the year.

Primary care trusts in the area are due to meet later this month to agree proposals, following discussions with the area’s hospital trusts on changes to emergency surgery and medicine; paediatric, maternity and specialist services; and elective care.

In a separate move, three acute trusts in the area - Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust, Newham University Hospital Trust and Whipps Cross University Hospital Trust - have told staff they are considering an organisational merger.

Other sectors in the capital - north central, north west and south west - have been working towards reconfiguration proposals, but it is unclear whether they will consult on any changes in the near future. Changes affecting four trusts in south east London were agreed last year.

Meanwhile, Kingston Hospital Trust, in south west London, has deferred its application for foundation trust status until February 2011 after NHS Kingston said it could not support it.

However, the primary care trust said: “We completely support the principle of provider organisations becoming foundation trusts, and we are committed to working with the hospital to deliver the best possible services for Kingston residents.”