Residents have reacted angrily after fears were raised about the future of Teddington Memorial Hospital - but assurances have been given there is no threat.

The League of Friends of Teddington Hospital raised concerns for the 82-year-old hospital after it emerged it must seek “alignment” with a bigger hospital or community trust. It has raised concerns any association or merger involving the hospital would be bound to lead to a leakage of local control and eventually a decline in service provision.

It was reported NHS Richmond, which owns and runs the Hampton Road hospital, was being put under pressure by the Department of Health to integrate its services.

Pamela Bryant, chairwoman of the friends group, said 10,000 leaflets outlining the issue had been distributed to residents and another 5,000 were being printed.

She explained the group had been inundated with responses, calling on the friends to do everything they can to ensure there is no threat to the hospital.

She added: “There has been anger and absolute amazement about the fact their hospital [is under threat].

“It was a community-funded hospital and residents are showing a high level of ownership of it - people are grateful to us for raising awareness of the issue.

“There is definitely fear for what might happen in the future but people will fight to the end.”

The hospital faced a similar threat in the early 1980s when it was aligned with West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth but it was saved after a campaign by the friends group.

Vince Cable, Twickenham's incumbent MP, said this week he had recieved a letter from Sian Bates, chairwoman of NHS Richmond, providing reassurance.

The health trust had previously stated the hospital was not under threat and Dr Cable said he was glad to have received the update but questioned its accuracy.

He added: “I am glad to have had such categorical reassurance. But I cannot see how such confidence is justified if the hospital is subsumed in a larger grouping.

“It isn’t just me being critical, the friends of the hospital have expressed alarm in an unprecedented way and so have the council in remarkably aggressive letter from the chief executive to the London NHS.

“The problem is that big structural changes, undermining local decision making, are being smuggled through without any public consultation.”