Fears have been raised over the future of Teddington Memorial Hospital after Government pressure for it to form stronger links with a larger hospital.

The League of Friends of Teddington Hospital raised concerns after it emerged the 82-year-old hospital must seek “alignment” with a bigger hospital or community trust.

The management changes come after NHS Richmond, which owns the hospital, came under pressure from the Department of Health to integrate the services.

The cause has been taken up by Twickenham MP Vince Cable, who has written to NHS Richmond’s chairwoman, Sian Bates, asking for the plans to be reconsidered.

He said: “We are seeing major change being pushed through by stealth with no public consultation.

“If Teddington Hospital is forced into a marriage with Kingston or West Middlesex hospitals or an ambitious, expanding hospital like Imperial College or Chelsea and Westminster, it could have the local identify and funding sucked out of it.”

Chairman of the friends, Pamela Bryant, said: “History tells us that when a community unit is vertically aligned to an acute unit ultimately the community arm of this integration suffers financially and it is well known that they suffer a slow decline and ultimate closure.

“The same situation could arise with an alignment to a larger community trust. Teddington Memorial Hospital is not under any direct threat of closure at this time but these proposals pose a potential risk for the future.”

The hospital faced a similar threat in the early 1980s when it was linked with West Middlesex Hospital.

A huge campaign was launched in 1981 by the friends to save the hospital, which resulted in the health minister of the time Kenneth Clarke declaring the hospital should remain open in 1983.

Twickenham Conservative parliamentary candidate Deborah Thomas said a petition would soon be launched to ask the Government to halt the plans, while Richmond London Assembly member Tony Arbour has asked London Mayor Boris Johnson to back the campaign.

He said: “The community has seen off these raiders before and together I am sure we can do so again.”

NHS Richmond this week stressed the hospital was not under threat.

A spokeswoman said: “It is at the heart of our strategy to secure out of hospital care and to offer high quality healthcare services closer to people’s homes.”

Register your opposition to the plans by emailing mailtoinfo@friends-of-teddington-memorial-hospital.org.uk or mailtopb.management@btinternet.com