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NHS trusts and Imperial College London announce intention to create an Academic Health Sciences Centre

See also...
-Faculty of Medicine
External Sites:
-Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust
-St Mary's NHS Trust
(Imperial College is not responsible for the content of these external internet sites)

Issued jointly by Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust and St Mary's NHS Trust

For Immediate Release
Wednesday 26 July 2006

The Boards of St Mary's and Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trusts have today resolved to, in principle, pursue a merger to become the UK's first Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) in partnership with Imperial College London.

St Mary's Hospital

The goal would be to achieve a merger of the trusts and their services and closer working with Imperial College London's Faculty of Medicine through a new governance structure formally integrating clinical service delivery, teaching and research, by 2007. This 'bench to bedside' approach - the formal integration of hospitals with medical education and research institutes - is in place in other parts of the world* and is yielding improvements and better clinical outcomes for patients.

The decision follows a four-month review period examining service, financial and governance issues and discussions with staff and Imperial's decision to endorse the move at its Council meeting on 14 July. The organisations believe the creation of the UK's first Academic Health Sciences Centre would enhance the services it provides to patients from both local communities and beyond and promote London's position as a key player in the global health market.

Hammersmith Hospital

The merger would be subject to staff, patient and public consultation plus NHS London and Department of Health approval. Both NHS London and the Secretary of State for Health will need to be assured of the improved benefits for patients that the new organisation would bring.

Trust Chief Executives Julian Nettel and Derek Smith said: "This is both an exciting and challenging opportunity. We are committed to involving our staff and key stakeholders through the important consultation process over the coming months to establish a sound footing and enhanced benefits for patients from the new organisation, should the Secretary of State approve the merger.

"There is still much detail to be worked through but it is important to stress that at this stage should the merger and AHSC concept be approved, it is our intention that patient services would be maintained across both Trusts' campuses."

Queen's Tower

Rector of Imperial College London, Sir Richard Sykes Opens in new window, said: "Patients will see clinical benefits from integrating research and teaching with the delivery of care and services. Imperial's strong record of taking discoveries made by our researchers and turning them in to improved care and therapies for patients - such as the rheumatoid arthritis drug, anti TNF alpha - will be enhanced and accelerated through the integration of St Mary's and Hammersmith with Imperial . It's a model successfully followed in other countries and we hope to be the first to develop it in the UK, giving the local population a healthcare centre of international standing."

Details of consultation opportunities will be made available on the organisations' websites and in local newspapers.

Notes to editors:

1. For more information contact Nick Samuels (Hammersmith Hospitals, 020 8383 3005), Claire Burroughs (St Mary's, 020 7886 6704) and Tom Miller (Imperial College London, 020 7594 8740).

2.*US, Canada, and parts of Europe.

3.The two trusts held their Board meetings on 24 and 25 July.

4. In terms of benefits to patients both locally and beyond, the trusts and Imperial believe the establishment of an AHSC would:
* Attract the world's leading clinicians
* Shorten the development and availability of new treatments and services
* Improve clinical quality and governance further
* Enable a stronger critical mass of specialist services and ensure better quality care for patients with complex diseases and health needs.