A chief executive has been appointed to lead the merged trust planned for south east London.

Chris Streather, a consultant renal physician, has been Bromley Hospitals trust interim chief executive since December and was previously medical director at St George's Hospital.

The planned merger of Bromley with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Queen Mary's Sidcup trusts to form South London Healthcare trust is awaiting approval from the health secretary.

The trusts have a combined income of about£400m and a debt expected to reach£200m at the end of the financial year.

Dr Streather, who has also been heavily involved in the Healthcare for London services reform programme, said: "I am delighted to have been appointed chief executive of the new trust for south London and I am looking forward to what will be a great challenge.

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"We have some tremendous staff at the three current trusts. The big challenge now is to unite these clinical teams into a single organisation dedicated to delivering the very best care for local people."

George Jenkins, who has been selected to chair the proposed organisation, said it was "one of the first trusts to appoint a senior clinician as its chief executive".

He said: "Chris Streather is both a talented doctor and an experienced manager and I warmly welcome his appointment.

"This must be the right way forward for the NHS and I intend to ensure that this isn't simply a token gesture. We will appoint top clinical staff – supported by professional managers – to lead all of our key divisions."

NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall said the appointment was "a clear demonstration of our commitment to the importance of clinical leadership within the NHS".