MUSGROVE Park Hospital in Taunton could be merged with the hospital in Weston, it has emerged.

The NHS announced yesterday today (June 4) that Weston General Hospital will merge with another NHS Trust, or be acquired by a foundation trust, within a 50-mile radius.

It comes after two years of uncertainty surrounding the hospital's future after bosses initially announced it was considering a private partner to help run it.

A spokesman for Musgrove said: “We work with many organisations across the South-West to make sure patients get the best possible experience from the NHS.

“When the announcement was made in 2013 that Weston was going through a procurement process we were one of a number of organisations that expressed interest in being part of the discussions.

"This remains the case and we await guidance from the NHS Trust Development Authority."

NHS trusts within the radius are invited to bid to merge or acquire Weston, with the preferred bidder expected to be announced in October.

Musgrove is one of those eligible to bid for the hospital, along with others in Bristol, Yeovil and Bath.

The move means Weston would join an NHS Foundation Trust and would share a board of trustees and aspects of management with the partner hospital.