£147million debt Trust underperforming’

PUBLISHED: 10:44 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:08 25 August 2010

GOVERNMENT chiefs say they are holding hospital bosses to account after their £147.2 million debt ridden Trust has been deemed as underperforming .

GOVERNMENT chiefs say they are holding hospital bosses to account after their £147.2 million debt ridden Trust has been deemed as 'underperforming'.

South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT) was one of only six Trusts across the country categorised as underperforming by the Department of Health (DoH).

Finance, standards, targets, user experience, quality and safety were all scored using a points system for the department's The Quarter report published last Thursday.

However, bosses at SLHT say the only reason they have scored badly is because of their dismal financial situation.

A DoH spokesperson said: "We are holding NHS managers and the quality of services to account. Earlier this year we introduced this new, more transparent performance regime to identify areas of concern and help drive improvements in the quality of care patients receive.

"The NHS is demonstrating strong overall performance but there are a small number of cases where improvement is needed. In these cases, we expect the NHS to take immediate action to address issues of concern. Strategic Health Authorities and PCTs are working very closely with the Trusts concerned and indeed in all these cases remedial action is already well underway."

A spokesperson for the South London Healthcare NHS Trust said: "SLHT is performing well in all of the key government targets, including the maximum four-hour waiting period in A&E, the 18-week target (which ensures that patients are seen and treated within 18 weeks from referral by their GP) and hospital acquired infections (MRSA and C.Diff).

"The financial challenges are ongoing and were the impetus for the merger of Bromley hospitals, Queen Elizabeth Woolwich and Queen Mary's Sidcup.

"We are working very hard to focus on our finance and meet the targets set for us by the (DoH).

"Our main priority continues to be patient care and ensuring that patients have the best possible experience and outcome when they come in to any of our sites."

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