The future of Teddington Memorial Hospital (TMH) appears safe as NHS Richmond has come up with an alternative to it being subsumed by a larger heath trust.

Fears over the future of the 82-year-old hospital were raised in April when the former Labour government put pressure on for it to seek “alignment” with a bigger hospital or community trust.

The League of Friends of Teddington Hospital launched a campaign as it felt stronger links with a larger hospital would lead to services suffering.

That proposal now appears to be on the back burner as NHS Hounslow and NHS Richmond, which runs health services in the borough and owns TMH, have received the backing of NHS London to create Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare (HRCH), a community foundation NHS trust.

An NHS Richmond spokeswoman said: “[This would create] a stand alone organisation dedicated to providing innovative, high quality community services to people in both boroughs.”

The move has been described by Vince Cable, MP for Twickenham, as “the most sensible way forward”.

New Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced a major restructuring of the health service earlier this year with hospitals moved out of the NHS, GPs to control most of the money for the service and the abolition of primary care trusts.

Dr Cable, part of the cabinet that approved the changes, said TMH “fit’s entirely into the new Government’s view of healthcare provision and should have a secure future”.

However, the friends of the hospital gave the news a cautious welcome. Pam Bryant, chairwoman, said the group was waiting to see all the small print before popping the champagne corks.

Mrs Bryant said: “We are very pleased they have applied for foundation trust, it’s very good news.

“But we are waiting for the new health reform paper to come out and we will know better our position after that.”

The NHS Richmond spokeswoman added: “NHS London has forwarded the application to the Department of Health’s (DoH) Community Foundation Trust panel for consideration at the end of October.

“Should the outcome be successful, the DoH’s Transactions Board will make a decision by the end of December.

“If this process is successful HRCH would be established as a community foundation NHS trust from April 1, 2011.”

The spokeswoman added that if the change was not agreed NHS Richmond would have to find a different way of providing health services to meet the Government's new policy.

Dr Cable added: “HRCH have a strong case and have my full support. My fingers are crossed for a successful resolution.”