STRUCTURE: The chief executive of Lewisham Healthcare Trust has been appointed chief executive designate of the trust that will be created if his organisation is merged with part of South London Healthcare Trust, which has been placed in the failure regime.

The trust special administrator has recommended South London Healthcare Trust be broken up with its site in Greewnwich merged with Lewisham.

Lewisham would then see its A&E downgraded as services were moved to the PFI hospital in Greenwich.

The proposals are being consulted on at the moment.

NHS London chief executive Ruth Carnall said: “This appointment will ensure there is clear leadership in place to do the planning and preparation ahead of the final report and subsequent final decision by the secretary of state next year. If the recommendation gets the go ahead, then a lot of the essential groundwork will already be in place to build this important new organisation.”

The appointments diary of trust special administrator Matthew Kershaw, obtained by HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act, showed more meetings with Mr Higginson than any other trust chief executive.

Tim Higginson said: “This proposed new organisation would be ideally placed to serve the communities of Lewisham and Greenwich. The aim is to provide high quality care, by dedicated staff able to work in a single organisation that is stable and affordable. I look forward to working with the staff, local people, stakeholders and the TSA as we plan for the best way to make this happen.”

There are already close links between Lewisham and the SLHT hospital in Greenwich. Director of business development Lynn Saunders was previously deputy chief executive of the Greenwich hospital before it became part of South London Healthcare Trust.