Orpington MP Jo Johnson holds urgent meeting with health secretary over future of South London Healthcare NHS Trust (From News Shopper)
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Orpington MP Jo Johnson holds urgent meeting with health secretary over future of South London Healthcare NHS Trust
ORPINGTON MP Jo Johnson held an emergency meeting with the health secretary last night (June 25) following the news South London Healthcare NHS Trust will be put into administration.
The trust, which has been losing £1m a week, will be the first in the country to be put under the control of a special administrator tasked with putting it on a viable footing.
The trust, which runs the Princess Royal University Hospital, Queen Mary's Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, has been criticised over standards of care and has run up debts of more than £150 million over the past three years.
And Mr Johnson said: “It has been abundantly clear for some time that the trust structure is failing.
“Saddled with dud PFI contracts, SLHT has significant financial challenges, adding to a historic debt of £150 million at the rate of £1.3m each week.
“This is money straight out of the pockets of patients.
“History shows that trusts with weak finances eventually also underperform clinically and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is right to head that off now before it happens with SLHT.”
He added: “I had an urgent meeting with the health secretary and sought assurances that there would be no asset-stripping or any rushed attempt to balance the books.
“In particular, it is crucial the consultation over the future of Orpington Hospital goes ahead as planned in July and that we keep the high quality health care services that are provided there in the town, either at the existing site or at a new health and well-being centre in the town centre.”
Chairwoman of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public Frances Hook, who is holding a protest outside Queen Elizabeth Hospital this morning, said her group had been campaigning against the use of PFI to rebuild the hospitals since the 1990s.
She said: “We warned that this would be like a mortgage, we’d be paying far more back than it cost to build and it would eventually collapse.”
Ms Hook added: “To put two PFI hospitals together was a disaster waiting to happen. The people of the three boroughs concerned were never really consulted on it.
“Even A Picture of Health went through regardless that the biggest percentage of respondents to that consultation didn’t want any of it.”
Senior organiser for the GMB union Rob Macey said hundreds of members have already called in with concerns about the possibility of staff cuts, the closure of services and facilities being hived off to the public sector.
He said: “The decision to call in administrators is nothing short of disgraceful. If the Trust is dissolved there will be devastating consequences for both patients and staff.
“This trust has never had the opportunity to succeed due the crippling historical debt inherited from a private sector finance deal.
“It cannot be right that we have a Government that is prepared to bail out the banks but not our NHS. GMB is therefore calling on the Government to bail out this Trust to give it a chance to succeed.”
Mr Macey said the union would have teams on site all week to help address staff concerns.