FRIMLEY Park Hospital will not be merging with the already amalgamated Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals in Chertsey, it has been decided by mutual consent. This joint conclusion has been reached following a thorough eight-month review to explore the opportunities and practical issues in combining the two trusts. In a joint statement, neither trust ruled out the possibility of resuming discussions in the future and both said they had found it a valuable process which helped to identify some potential benefits from closer working. The aim is still to work towards achieving some of these benefits, although merger has been ruled out at the moment. The merger discussions were conceived from a meeting of senior doctors in west Surrey. At that time Surrey Primary Care Trust was considering its Fit for the Future programme and accident and emergency departments in the area's hospitals were perceived to be under threat. This week's statement stressed: "This development does not have any bearing on existing emergency services and levels of care and both trusts share the vision of improving healthcare in Surrey. "For example, together they will continue to work with Surrey PCT and other primary care trusts to provide a broader range of services for patients in Surrey. "Both trusts would like to thank all of those involved within our hospitals for their hard work in supporting the merger project." The Royal Surrey County Hospital had suggested that, if successful, the merger could be extended to include it as well and to provide a single university trust in West Surrey.