Kingston Hospital could be taking over the UK’s largest hip and knee replacement centre, according to a leaked NHS staff bulletin.

A message from Epsom and St Helier Trust chief executive Matthew Hopkins has revealed plans to switch the day-to-day running of the Elective Orthopaedic Centre (EOC) at Epsom Hospital to Kingston.

The EOC is currently run in partnership with Epsom, Kingston, Croydon and St George’s Hospitals, with income after costs split between the four partners.

It is “hosted” by Epsom, meaning it oversees the centre’s everyday performance and quality of care.

However, the Partnership Board is now considering passing that responsibility on to another hospital, with Kingston currently the first choice.

In the bulletin, seen by the Surrey Comet, Mr Hopkins said: “At its most recent meeting, the Partnership Board agreed to assess whether the hosting of the EOC should pass to one of the other trusts and it was suggested that, subject to appropriate approvals, it should be passed to Kingston Hospital.

“Members of the Partnership Board felt this would allow a clearer split between the host and the physical location of the EOC, which, in turn, they believe could improve the way in which the centre is governed.”

The board has set a timescale that could see Kingston in charge from April 2013.

Mr Hopkins stressed that EOC staff will not be affected by the changes, apart from their contract of employment being transferred to Kingston.

The EOC will stay in Epsom and the money it makes from the centre will not change.

However, senior doctors, nurses and managers on the hospital’s Trust Executive Committee have raised several concerns about the move.

The committee is worried the change could have a destabilising effect on patients and staff, and have questioned the benefits of the change as well as the short timeline.

A Kingston Hospital spokeswoman said: “It is important to note that these are only changes to the administrative arrangements for the Centre.

“These proposals will not affect services received by patients and the location of the EOC will remain on the Epsom Hospital site, so they will not notice the difference.”