• Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust have submitted a rival proposal for what should happen to services at the Royal Brompton and Harefield FT
  • RBHT has proposed the sale of their valuable land in Chelsea to pay for a new facility by St Thomas’ Hospital
  • Plan followed NHS England decision that RBHT should not provide cardiac surgery for children with congenital heart disease without relocating

Two hospital trusts have submitted a proposal that would stop a neighbour selling land worth hundreds of millions and relocating.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FT yesterday revealed its proposal for what should happen to the services currently provided from the Royal Brompton and Harefield FT’s site in Chelsea.

HSJ last year revealed that the Brompton was drawing up plans to sell the valuable real estate and move to a new site at St Thomas’ Hospital, three miles away. The move would cost around £800m and see a 550 bed hospital built over the next decade.

The proposals followed a decision by NHS England that the trust should no longer provide congenital heart disease surgery for children. The Brompton wants to keep that together with its other work – and proposed it could do this by moving to the St Thomas’ site.

However, Imperial and Chelsea and Westminster said that, while it made sense to move paediatric heart surgery to St Thomas’, the rest of the heart and lung specialist’s services should remain north of the river.

The proposals were that a new “national cardiovascular and respiratory centre of excellence” be set up at Hammersmith Hospital, part of Imperial, while all non-specialist children’s services be concentrated at St Mary’s and Chelsea and Westminster, along with a new centre for cystic fibrosis at the latter.

Chelsea and Westminster chief executive Lesley Watts said: “As we develop more life long and seamless care, it would be a backwards step to dislocate a huge amount of specialist heart and lung care from other services provided locally.

“We think the opportunity created by change at the Royal Brompton should instead be used to forge closer links between existing partners, either through the proposals we have put forward today or, potentially, through an alternative option that enables the Royal Brompton to remain at its current site.”

Many of the senior staff at the Brompton are joint appointments between the trust and Imperial College London. It is not clear what a move to south London would mean for these roles, if anything.

However, dean of the medical faculty at Imperial College, Professor Jonathan Weber, said: “Imperial leads nationally on research for both cardiovascular and respiratory disease. A deep and long lasting partnership with our local NHS partners, including the Royal Brompton, has led to significant improvements in patient care both nationally and internationally… Our proposal will preserve and strengthen these benefits for our patients and staff and for the wider NHS.”

Imperial College is part of an academic science centre group with the north west London trusts, while Guy’s and St Thomas’ is part of King’s Health Partners, linked to King’s College London.

A Royal Brompton spokeswoman said in a statement: “Our proposed collaboration with King’s Health Partners is innovative and bold. It sets out a new way of delivering healthcare and has the potential to benefit a population of over 12 million people throughout London and the south east.

“The starting point for this, and any credible partnership with our trust, is a model that keeps our expert teams together – adult and children’s – and reflects our lifetime of specialist care model, from before birth to old age. We are not aware of any proposal, apart from our collaboration with KHP, that maintains the integrity of our patient care in this way.”

The Royal Brompton’s proposal and the rival proposal from the north west London trusts are due to be submitted to NHS England in January.