STRUCURE: Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has met the criteria needed to move to the next stage in its bid to take over Epsom hospital.

The foundation trust formerly tendered to merge with the hospital in November, as part of plans to split Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust so its two sites can attain FT status. St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust has bid for St Helier hospital.

A transaction board is currently reviewing the bids following an assessment by five specialist panels: vlinical, workforce, non-clinical, legal, and financial.

The panels assessed the bids against a range of criteria developed jointly with staff and patient representatives. Criteria included delivering better outcomes and benefits for patients, and improving the way local health services work together.

In an update statement on the planned de merger, the trust said: “All five panels have now completed their assessment and we are pleased to report that the bidders have passed this phase of the review, meeting the criteria expected of them.”

It added: “Over the coming weeks, the bids – and the assessment undertaken by the five specialist panels – will be presented to the trust board and transaction board, before going to our strategic authority, NHS London, for sign off.

“Once this has been completed – which we anticipate to be in March – we will be able to announce if the two trusts have been selected as preferred bidders.”