AN administrator who put together cost-saving proposals recommending shutting Lewisham Hospital's A&E department has run 25 per cent over his original £4m budget.
Special administrator Matthew Kershaw's office was originally allocated £4m by the Department of Health when it started his work at the financially-crippled South London Healthcare Trust, which ran hospitals in Woolwich, Sidcup and Farnborough.
But the department has now released further money, bringing the total sum to £5.1m. Of that figure, £3.1m has been splashed out on consultancy fees, including £2m to lead contractor McKinsey and their sub-contractors.
Leader of Lewisham Lib Dems Councillor Chris Maines, who was sent the figures following a Freedom of Information request, said: "It is beyond belief that a person employed to find substantial savings could not demonstrate how to live within a generous budget himself."
He added: "The public consultation meetings started with a video lecturing the audience on the importance of living within a given budget.
"Many members of the audiences felt offended and patronised by Mr Kershaw when he explained the problem was like our own household budgets and we had to control our spending. He clearly failed to follow his own advice and this must question his credibility."
Lewisham West MP Jim Dowd, who has also questioned the cost of the new regime, recently branded the proposals "disgraceful, dishonourable, disreputable and downright dishonest" in Parliament, calling for the entire process to be suspended.
Mr Kershaw's final recommendations will be handed to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt on January 7. A decision is expected early in February.
A spokesman for for the Office of the Trust Special Administrator said: “To date, the budget that has been agreed by the Department of Health for the Trust Special Administrator to operate the unsustainable NHS provider regime at South London Healthcare NHS Trust is £5.1m.
"Whilst an initial budget of £4m was agreed at the beginning of the process, as this is the very first time the regime has been enacted additional contingency funding has been made available to address costs as the work has progressed."