The Royal Marsden foundation trust is to open a unit at Kingston Hospital trust as the first step in a plan to roll out its cancer service across the South East.

The Royal Marsden is a specialist cancer organisation and is keen to expand its brand and increase the services it offers to patients.

Chief executive Cally Palmer told HSJ that the trust was aiming to "centralise where necessary and localise where possible".

"We are looking at setting up a series of networks, and Kingston offered the first opportunity to do that. The networks will all work under the Royal Marsden banner."

Ms Palmer said it was already in discussions with a second trust about setting up another Royal Marsden cancer unit on site and was undertaking market research about the possibility of setting up further units in London and the South East.

"We are keen to secure patient referrals to the Royal Marsden, as it will be good for business and for extending our brand.

"In the long-term we hope this will benefit us as a foundation trust and provide financial security," she said.

The Royal Marsden is understood to be the second foundation trust to follow the franchise model after Moorfields Eye Hospital, which operates out of 11 hospitals across London and the South East, as well as in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.