STRUCTURE: NHS London has approved the proposed merger between Bart and the London, Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals.

A special meeting of NHS London’s board approved the move on Tuesday.

The £1.1bn merger now needs only approval from the Department of Health’s transactions board in early 2012 to proceed.

The trusts have asked the SHA for an £86.5m bailout as they make the transition and have more than £200m in savings to make.

Full merger is planned by April next year, with a foundation trust application to follow.

The Co-operation and Competition Panel’s second phase report on the merger is due for completion before then and will inform the board’s decision.