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Trust to work with King's Fund on St Helier's future

The Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust will be working with leading health think-tank The King's Fund, who will help the Board develop pioneering options for the long-term future of St Helier Hospital.

The announcement follows St George's Healthcare NHS Trust's decision to withdraw their ‘bid' to merge with St Helier earlier this year, meaning the Trust is having to explore alternative options.

Established in 1897, The King's Fund is the UK's leading health think-tank and has a global reputation as one of the foremost and well-respected in the world. Their team of policy and leadership development experts advise charities, NHS bodies and Government departments on shaping policy and transforming services.

MatthewHopkins is Chief Executive of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust. He said: "We are absolutely committed to the long-term future of St Helier Hospital, and to continuing to deliver the best and most efficient services for our patients and local people.

"The King's Fund's reputation is second-to-none and we are delighted to have enlisted their support and expertise as we identify a long-term solution for the future of St Helier. They will be invaluable in helping us to think innovatively about what we can do to ensure our services are sustainable, and financially viable, in the years to come.

"We also continue to work closely with our doctors, nurses and other staff, as well as our local GPs, ‘clinical commissioning groups' (the groups of GPs who will ‘buy' NHS services in future), local authorities, councillors, patient groups, other NHS partners and MPs. Together, we are determined to find the best solution for our patients, local people andstaff."

Nigel Edwards is a Senior Fellow in Leadership Development and Health Policy at the King's Fund and is working with the Trust on the future of St Helier. He said: "Even though these are clearly unsettling times for St Helier Hospital, I have been very impressed by the ongoing commitment of the leadership team I have met so far to providing the very best care to their patients.

"The NHS is witnessing a period of unparalleled change. We want to work with organisations who are thinking innovatively, and bring to the table our knowledge and expertise. By doing this, there is an opportunity to develop some of the new and radical solutions that are required to deal with the challenges that many NHS organisations now face."

A list of possible options for the future of St Helier and Sutton is expected in July 2012.