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Administrators due at South London Healthcare NHS Trust
ADMINISTRATORS are expected to be called in to a financially crippled health trust on July 12, in a decision that has provoked heated debate in Bromley.
South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT), whose three hospitals include Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) in Farnborough, has run up debts of more than £150m over the past three years.
Much of that debt comes from expensive Private Finance Initiative contracts drawn up when the PRUH and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich were built, meaning the trust faces a repayment of £66.8m this year alone.
Outgoing chief executive Dr Chris Streather says the Secretary of State was likely to announce on July 12 that the trust had been put into the "unsustainable providers regime".
This means a special administrator would take over all the powers of the board and recommend measures to the health secretary to put the trust's finances on a sustainable basis.
The administrator would have 120 days to develop a plan, which was likely to be extended to 160 days.
Groups like Keep Our NHS Public have slammed the PFI contracts which lie at the heart of the crisis, while the GMB union has called for a bailout of the trust.
And senior organiser for the union Robert Macey has written to the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley asking him to meet with staff.
Orpington MP Jo Johnson says Mr Lansley has agreed to look at the PFI debt once the administrator has gone in to the trust.
Mr Johnson said: “The administrator has got 120 days to make an assessment and come up with a plan to make SLHT clinically and financially sustainable.
“Andrew Lansley has already indicated he is prepared to address the problem of the PFI if as a business SLHT can maintain its sustainability.”
And he says he is optimistic that a consultation about the future of Orpington Hospital can go ahead after meeting with the Minister of State for Health Simon Burns.
This is set to start on July 16 and be completely independent of the work being undertaken by the administrator for SLHT.