STRUCTURE: HSJ understands Andrew Lansley will recommend Chase Farm Hospital is merged with a neighbouring trust.

A source close to the reconfiguration process said following the health secretary’s reading of a report from the Independent Reconfiguration Panel he had decided to back the merger of the hospital with North Middlesex University Hospital.

The IRP delivered its second assessment of reconfiguration proposals to Mr Lansley in early July.

Plans to move consultant-led midwifery and A&E services from Chase Farm have been opposed by local MPs and a group of GPs.

A report in the Financial Times today said the IRP had recommended downgrading Chase Farm, as had originally been proposed in the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Clinical Strategy  - and civil servants were expecting to “have to do something clever with words and redefining ‘A&E’”.

HSJ understands that Andrew Lansley will announce a merger in early September – which will allow work to begin on moving some services to North Middlesex while delaying a full decision.

The source said: “I am led to believe that what is coming from the secretary of state will be more complex than just tinkering with the words [of the IRP report]”.

The announcement is expected to be close to the merger suggestions made by local Conservative MPs Nick de Bois and David Burrowes in June.

Both trusts were listed as being due for a decision on their future form in September in an internal NHS London document.