STRUCTURE: Plans to de-merge Epsom Hospital from Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust and merge it with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust are to continue.

The announcement comes from Epsom and St Helier in light of the news in late January that St George’s Healthcare Trust had withdrawn its bid to merge with the trust’s other site, St Helier Hospital.

On 7 February the Transaction Board, a special committee in charge of overseeing the de-merger of Epsom and St Helier hospitals, met to discuss the next steps.

The trust said the committee had decided that plans to de-merge Epsom from St Helier and merge it with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust “would continue”.

“However, it was noted that Ashford and St Peter’s bid for Epsom was still subject to final agreement by the local NHS. This decision is due in March 2012,” it said.

Transaction director Jon Sargeant, who is leading the de-merger work, said: “It is good news that the Epsom de-merger can continue, subject to final approval by the different parties involved.

“The Transaction Board carefully considered the position and concluded that whilst the future of St Helier is still to be confirmed, it was agreed that it remained in the best interests of patients, local people and staff to continue with the Epsom merger.”

He added: “In March, we should be in a position to announce whether Ashford and St Peter’s is the preferred partner and, as such, to work towards Epsom and St Helier de-merging in early 2013.”