Frequently asked questions

Below you can find some frequently asked questions about our plans to join Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

The two Trusts have a long history of being at the forefront of patient care and research. We want to use our collective clinical and academic expertise to provide the best possible care to patients, meet all national standards of paediatric congenital heart disease and ensure the long-term future of the specialist services provided at Royal Brompton Hospital.

The Boards of both Trusts are confident that by formally bringing together our respective organisations and the shared expertise of our clinical and academic teams, we can significantly improve care and outcomes for people with cardiovascular and respiratory disease. 

Although not part of the formal transaction process, we also have an ambitious vision to create a new heart and lung centre on the St Thomas’ site that will reflect the Royal Brompton name and heritage. We want to create one of the best centres for heart and lung disease in the world, deliver exceptional care to patients and drive research into new and better treatments. Joining Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) does not determine the future location of services, which are subject to NHSE consultation, but it will provide a sustainable future for our hospitals and enable us to keep our expert teams together.

The formal transaction will take the form of an acquisition by Guy’s and St Thomas’ structured as a merger.

We have an ambition to create something new and world-class. If we stay on our current site NHS England will decommission our children’s congenital heart disease services which will de-stabilise the whole Trust, split up our expert teams and risk all our services being split up. It is not viable to maintain the status quo. Joining Guy’s and St Thomas’ is the best solution to future-proof the Trust; it ensures our adult and children’s teams are kept together and enables us to continue our ‘lifetime of specialist care’ approach which has always been integral to our care (providing specialist care from before birth to old age).

Yes. Over many years. While some were exciting and ambitious, none offered the right opportunity and partnership for the Trust to move forward and expand – vital for a specialist Trust with a strong reputation for breaking new ground in heart and lung disease treatment and research. From our earliest discussions with Guy’s and St Thomas’ we realised we had the chance to create something new and dynamic with colleagues who shared our appetite for innovation and transformation.

RB&HFT will cease to exist as an independent Foundation Trust after joining a newly restructured Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Both Boards recognise the importance of the Royal Brompton name and heritage, and both Trusts are committed to maintaining this as part of the naming of the new heart and lung centre. The Harefield name will be kept and used at the site level as the Guy’s and St Thomas’ names are used at site level today.

Although we do not currently have a finalised date, we expect RB&HFT to formally join Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSTT) in the first quarter of 2021. This, however, does not mean that Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals will stop operating from their respective sites. We anticipate Royal Brompton will remain operating on its current site for a significant period of time – probably a decade. We expect Harefield to continue to thrive as it does now, as the designated heart attack centre for outer north-west London, the specialist heart and lung provider for a large population in north-west London and continuing to lead in heart and lung transplantation and devices for end-stage heart disease. There are no plans to move services from Harefield.

We anticipate that Royal Brompton will remain operating on its current site for a significant period of time - probably a decade: Royal Brompton Hospital is not closing. Then, if our vision is realised, it would re-locate to the St Thomas’ site. Any service moves would be the subject of NHSE public consultation. Plans for the estate are not yet developed.

 

We expect Harefield to continue to thrive as it does now, as the designated heart attack centre for outer north-west London, the specialist heart and lung provider for a large population in north-west London and continuing to lead in heart and lung transplantation and devices for end-stage heart disease.

Absolutely not. Our vision is to create in the long term a new heart and lung centre of excellence on the St Thomas’ site which will retain the Royal Brompton name and heritage. Both Boards are unequivocally committed to this. Until this time, services will continue at Royal Brompton.

Central to our long-term vision is the proposed development of a new heart and lung centre of excellence to be developed on the St Thomas’ site, which would take around ten years to complete. Clinical and research links with colleagues at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and across the wider King’s Health Partners are growing stronger by the day, with joint clinics and services developing in several areas, but before any services could move, public consultation (by NHSE England) would have to take place.

Early next year, NHS England (NHSE/I) will start a public consultation process on the proposed move of paediatric services from Royal Brompton Hospital to an expanded Evelina London Children’s Hospital (ELCH - part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust). If NHSE/I support the move following public consultation, we envisage a substantial relocation taking place when new purpose built, state-of-the-art facilities are completed at ELCH in around five to six years’ time. However, in the meantime, as a merged Trust, our paediatric teams will work together closely to best meet the needs of children and their families on the basis of a single, integrated clinical service delivered across our sites.

Yes. NHSE has confirmed their backing for the two organisations to join together. A full business case will be taken to the Trust’s Board in due course and subsequently the Council of Governors will vote on the process.

When two foundation trusts join together a public consultation is not required. Our vision for heart and lung care in the future is separate to the merger and any service change that may arise from it (whether paediatric or adult) would be subject to public consultation by NHSE/I.

 

Any proposal needs to keep our adult and children’s teams together, to continue our ‘lifetime of specialist care’ approach. Our long-term vision not only delivers this but also offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to achieve what we can never do alone. It is not just a change of site to enable closer working with another teaching hospital: our proposal involves creating a joint specialist centre on the St Thomas’ campus which would act as a hub for colleagues at Harefield, Wimpole Street and King’s College Hospital and provide a central source of expertise for community referrers and referring hospital doctors. It would revolutionise patient care.

Yes, our plans are clinically led. Staff have been integral to their development since 2017 when we announced plans to form a partnership with King’s Heath Partners and they have been working closely with colleagues at GSTT, and the wider Kings Health Partners, since then. Clinical and research links with colleagues across the partnership are growing stronger by the day, with joint clinics and services developing in several areas. For example, consultants from across both trusts have been running joint sleep clinics and joint pre-transplant clinics. This autumn a Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment (TUPE) consultation will take place to address the specifics of the formal acquisition transaction.

Patients continue to be involved in the development of our partnership proposals and vision. This includes a PPRG (Patient and Public Reference Group) which has been established for over a year. This will be one of the ways in which we will involve patients in discussions about formally joining Guy’s and Thomas’. We will also engage our governors in the process. These proposals all centre around delivering benefits for our patients and better clinical care so the contribution from our patients is invaluable and insightful. 

Both RB&HFT and GSTT are committed to continuing to work with each of our existing academic partners and to exploring new academic models with them.  Our aim is to support the academic sub-specialty focus that drives much of the world-class research and teaching today.  In addition to collaborating with clinical academics from Imperial College London and King’s College London, the centre will also welcome those from other academic centres in the UK and internationally.

 

Services will continue to run at both our hospitals. Any decision to move a clinical service from Royal Brompton Hospital or Harefield Hospital to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust would be subject to a public consultation process by NHS England (NHSE/I). Our long-term ambition is to create a joint heart and lung centre of excellence on the St Thomas’ site, where Royal Brompton services would eventually re-locate, but this would be dependent on new facilities being built.

The move will not affect the care or treatment that patients currently receive at our hospitals. This means that your appointments, clinical team and access to the care we provide will remain unchanged. Any relocation of clinical services would be subject to a public consultation by NHS England.