London’s three academic health super-trusts should work together to recapture the city’s position as a world leader in health research, Sir Ian Kennedy has said.

Imperial College, King's Health Partners and UCL Partners have been designated as academic health science centres along with Cambridge University Health Partners and Manchester academic health science centres.

Partnerships in Oxford and Birmingham were rejected by a panel of international experts chaired by the Healthcare Commission chair.

Sir Ian said: "If they do collaborate that offers the opportunity of London recapturing its place as a major world centre for research and healthcare, which it was some while back but perhaps has slipped."

Sir Ian said NHS London wanted to make sure their work improved healthcare.

"I think there will be a significant role for [NHS London] interacting with them and ensuring the AHSCs' work… reflects what is needed for London as well as more widely.

"These significant international leaders can lead the way out of areas of mediocrity so that we see a steady increase in the quality of care."

Acute reconfiguration

Sir Ian acknowledged some may contribute to acute reconfiguration in their areas.

"There are circumstances where in London there might need to be reconfigurations and changes in services," he said.

"The centres might be catalysts for such changes, but the purpose must be to improve health."

The centres are expected to attract increased funding and speed up developments in healthcare.

NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall said the announcement meant Londoners "will continue to benefit from having cutting-edge medical advances and leadership at the heart of their NHS".

Oxford University with Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre trusts - the surprise losers - said the decision was "disappointing for our patients and for the whole of the Oxfordshire community".

They said they would "continue to work closely in partnership".