• Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and St George’s University Hospitals will share a chair
  • Latest in series of joint appointments, especially in London

Two hospital trusts today announced they will share a chair – the latest in a string of shared leadership moves among NHS providers, especially in London.

The new chair of Epsom and St Helier Unviersity Hospitals Trust will be Gillian Norton, who will continue to chair St George’s University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The move marks the second largest pair of organisations to have a single chair, after the announcement earlier this year that the chair of Guy’s and St Thomas’ FT would also run the board of neighbouring King’s College Hospital FT.

It will see “closer working” between Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, which sits on the London-Surrey border and has a turnover of £434m and St George’s, which has a turnover of £844m and is home to London’s smallest medical school, according to the announcement.

Ms Norton takes up the role next month when ESTH’s current chair Laurence Newman retires at the end of his eight-year term.

She has previously been chief executive of Richmond Council and Wokingham Borough Council.

This week has seen the announcement of a shared chief executive post for two other London trusts as well as two mental health providers hiring consultants to advise on the potential for closer working.

NHS Improvement and NHS England London medical director Vin Diwaker said in a statement: ”Laurence has provided excellent stewardship as chair of Epsom and St Helier since November 2011. His contribution to the organisation has been both positive and significant.

”Gillian has an outstanding track record of public service and understands both health and social care from her role at St George’s, and her previous roles in local government.

”By appointing a chairman in common, I believe Epsom and St Helier and St George’s can continue to build on their collaboration over many years and realise the advantages of closer working for the benefits of staff and patients alike.”

ESTH has moved from being in the bottom quartile of London trusts for performance on waiting times to the top over the past four years, and progress has been made on solving long-running reconfiguration issues.

Mr Newman said: “I am particularly proud of the trust being at the forefront of integrated care with local partners building first on Epsom Health and Care to now being system leaders with Surrey Downs Health and Care and Sutton Health and Care. I am also pleased we have secured £100m to invest in critical infrastructure issues over the course of three years, which included a record £50m spent on improving facilities and equipment in the last 12 months alone.”