AS CUTS loom over the region's hospitals, four health trusts for west London have confirmed a plan to merge services.
After several months of discussion, the NHS trusts for Harrow , Brent, Ealing and Ealing Hospital Trust announced the formation of an Integrated Care Organisation (ICO).
The ICO aims to remove the boundaries between hospital and community healthcare services so that patients will spend less time in hospital and receive more care closer to home.
A wide range of healthcare services will now be available across boroughs with a focus on treating long-term conditions such as chronic heart disease and diabetes.
Dr John Lister of Health Emergency, which supports groups campaigning against health cuts, said the merger was still at an early stage and it was too early to say whether or not it would be detrimental.
He said: "In some ways it benefits people living in west London as some services which had only been available to people living in Ealing will now available to those living in Harrow and vice versa.
"But one negative aspect is that it does affect local accountability between trusts as now some services are provided under an umbrella organisation rather than by individual trusts."
A joint statement from chief executives Robert Creighton of NHS Ealing, Sarah Crowther of NHS Harrow and Julie Lowe of Ealing Hospital NHS Trust said: "We are committed to providing first class local healthcare that is responsive to the needs of our local communities.
"This marks the start of our innovative journey that will deliver substantial benefits for the people of Ealing and Harrow."