Debt-ridden NHS trust to be scrapped

South London NHS
Healthcare Trust was haemorrhaging around £1m a week

A bankrupt NHS trust with three acute hospitals that serve a million people in London looks set to be carved up between the NHS and private sector, according to controversial proposals revealed today.

South London NHS Healthcare Trust was declared bust and administrators called in three months ago after haemorrhaging around £1m a week to accumulate debts of £150m.

Its three hospitals in south-east London - Queen Mary's in Sidcup, Princess Royal (PRU) in Bromley and Queen Elizabeth (QEH) in Greenwich - have struggled with patient satisfaction and spiralling debt since they were merged into a super-Trust in 2009.

Matthew Kershaw was dispatched to take-over in July by the former Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, after it became clear that its two hugely expensive private finance initiative (PFI) deals meant the status quo was impossible for the taxpayer to sustain.

Mr Kershaw’s radical proposals, which inevitably have a knock-on effect for neighbouring hospitals, include the merger of the PFI built QEH with neighbouring Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust with the loss of one A&E department. The PRU could be taken over by King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust or more controversially, its services put out to tender - keeping alive hopes of several private companies hoping for a slice of the franchise.

One of the biggest changes would see Queen Mary's taken over by a mental health foundation trust, Oxleas, and land sold off to the pay off debts. The new ‘health campus’ would no longer provide complex surgery but concentrate on day cases, radiotherapy and endoscopy.

The burden of unsustainable PFI deals on the taxpayer is pulled sharply into focus here as Kershaw calls on the government to pay ‘the excess costs’ of the two PFI hospitals, regardless of their use, until the 25-year contracts expire.

A comprehensive re-organisation of emergency, community, maternity and elective services across southeast London is also recommended.

The proposals come after 39 organisations submitted expressions of interest in taking over some services though none is said to have wanted to take on the whole beast. 

Nine bids have been taken forward for more detailed consideration, though none have been named because of “commercial confidentiality”. Virgin Health, Care UK, Serco and Circle are among the private companies vying for a share of the services.

The Kershaw report said the proposed actions would improve outcomes for patients, resolve the trust’s financial dire straits and more broadly, secure financial sustainability across the wider area.”

The report seems to suggest potential job losses as it says "The trust has the lowest income per consultant in its peer group, a very high ratio of junior doctors to consultant staff and high use of locum and agency staff.”

The controversial plans, which come as the Public Accounts Committee slammed the government's 'on the hoof' approach to dealing with debt-ridden NHS organisations, were cautiously welcomed.

Anna Dixon, director of policy at the King's Fund thinktank, said: "South London Healthcare's problems are complex and longstanding – the proposed solutions recommend very significant change. While the recommendations will undoubtedly be controversial and tough to implement, radical redesign of health services is needed in many parts of the country."

The proposals are out to public consultation for 30 days, with Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, expected to make a decision early in February.

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?