CAMPAIGNERS have described Orpington Hospital’s three year extension as ‘fantastic but long overdue’ as painters and decorators move in.

It has been revealed King’s College NHS Foundation Trust has a business case for taking over the Princess Royal University Hospital (PRU) in Farnborough which included taking over Orpington Hospital for three years.

These plans have been presented to the South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) which is due to be dissolved as Kings takes over.

The PRU is expected to come under King’s responsibility on October 1 and elective surgery is predicted to return soon to Orpington Hospital although the full business case still needs to be confirmed by a number of parties including the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt.

Campaigner David Mott said: "We think they have made the right decision and it is long overdue.

"I don’t want to put the kibosh on things - it’s fantastic news but we are also concerned it’s only for three years.

"After they have got it up and running, they would be foolish to get rid of it so I hope they will keep it open.

"We will keep on fighting to ensure Orpington Hospital is safe permanently." 

The 65-year-old of Red Cedars Road added: "In my opinion, Orpington MP Jo Johnson has realised what side of the bread his butter is spread on."

A spokesperson for King’s said: "Because King’s will be running Orpington for an interim period of three years we are refurbishing some areas ready for patient use ready for October - this is why people have seen the decorators in.

"Originally the recommendation from the TSA was that Orpington Hospital should be sold. 

"King’s suggestion which has been agreed by the TSA and Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group is that we take it over and run it for an interim period of 3 years.

"We plan to use the site to deliver elective activity (primarily for orthopaedic patients), rehabilitation and outpatient services, which will relieve pressure on waiting lists at both King’s and the PRUH and reduce waiting times for patients."

Clinical chair of NHS Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Andrew Parson said: "We welcome the decision made by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to provide care for an interim period on the Orpington Hospital site."