An NHS trust has said a proposed merger with another trust will help it to reduce waiting times and improve access to specialist care.

North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust are in active talks over their proposed merger.

They have been in a formal partnership since 2021.

Over the coming months a business case will be drawn up, which will need approval from both trusts’ boards as well as NHS England.

This is expected to be completed by summer and the organisations unified, if approved, in autumn. 

North Mid says it could “achieve more” if it joined Royal Free, which runs Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield and Royal Free Hospital in Camden.

The NHS trust added that the Edmonton hospital would “continue to provide the same local services” as at present.

This includes an accident and emergency department, maternity ward, intensive care, paediatrics, acute surgery, medicine and community services. 

It claims the merger will reduce waiting times, improve local access to specialist care, and help join up community services.

More co-ordinated action is also expected, with screening and early intervention services tailored to its different communities.

A North Mid spokesperson said: “Following several years of ever closer joint working, the boards of North Mid and the Royal Free London group have agreed to look at how we could come together as one organisation. 

“Our experience has shown that together we can deliver better care for local people and more opportunities for staff. 

“While our hospitals and community services would continue to provide the same local services, we believe joining together would enable us to go further and faster in improving services for patients and the health of our local community. 

“We are currently developing detailed plans for the proposed merger which will then need to be approved by the boards of both trusts and NHS England.”

A recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report found leaders at the trust needed to better manage the workload associated with a proposed merger.

Jane Ray, CQC deputy director of operations in London, said despite finding the North Mid leadership team “skilled and committed” it had struggled to complete some of its work in a “timely manner”.