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NHS trust could be declared bust

26th June 2012

The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has sent a letter to a London health trust to warn it that it could be dissolved and declared bankrupt.

Pound Sign

South London Healthcare, which is responsible for hospitals in Sidcup, Orpington and Woolwich, has only managed to survive because of  government financial help of £150 million in the last three years.

Mr Lansley told the trust that it could face administration and closure of service within weeks.

He wrote: "A central objective for all providers is to ensure they deliver high-quality services to patients that are clinically and financially sustainable for the long term."

"I recognise that South London Healthcare NHS Trust faces deep and long-standing challenges, some of which are not of its own making. Nonetheless, there must be a point when these problems, however they have arisen, are tackled. I believe we are almost at this point."

Last year the trust had a deficit of £69 million and a turnover of £424 million.

The Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich were amalgamated by the trust in 2009.

When the hospitals came under one umbrella they became liable for an enormous debt from the PFI used to build in Orpington and Woolwich. 

Chris Streather, chief executive of South London Healthcare, said: "There is a huge gap in our financial plan in order for us to become viable in the long term and this intervention if it solves that problem which it is designed to do is absolutely welcome and will be helpful." 

The government has also identified 20 other NHS trusts which are in financial difficulties. 

 

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