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Closing QMS and axing 695 posts are 'options'

PUBLISHED: 11:21 26 January 2012

James Brokenshire

James Brokenshire

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»Losing Queen Mary's Hospital and shedding 695 posts are two options NHS bosses could take if they want South London NHS Trust to gain foundation status.

The Trust, which this year alone is set to make a loss of 69.8million, is already saddled with debts of £140 million.

Drastic measures outlined in a trust report to NHS London at a board meeting this week are based on “worst case scenarios” and include only keeping the Bromley and Woolwich hospitals.

The trust admitted it was the first time it had officially aired the idea but said the plans were a back-up if the current business plan to reduce its debt did not work.

Unhelpful

It reads: “Our downside case includes a mitigation approach that reduces our footprint from three to two large sites.” But Trust chairman John Ballard maintained they did not support closing the Sidcup hospital. A Trust spokesman said: “As a trust, we are working to substantially reduce costs to avoid this in relation to Queen Mary’s.

“Our planning with local Clinical Commissioners and Bexley Council is for Queen Mary’s to become a Health and Wellbeing campus, with a specialist surgical centre, diagnostics and outpatients, alongside additional community provided health services.

“We are working with staff to redesign our services which will include an increase in out of hospital care in the next few years and this will mean a smaller hospital workforce, however, we expect any compulsory redundancies to be minimal.”

Old Bexley and Sidcup MP James Brokenshire said: “I have received explicit assurances from both the local hospital trust and NHS London that there is absolutely no intention to close our hospital. It is very unhelpful that what amounts to little more than a worst case scenario not expected to occur should have been released in this way.”

“It is absolutely right that a recovery plan is developed. This should include more integrated working with other local NHS organisations such as Oxleas as well as central London teaching institutions such as King’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals. I have long urged for this to be advanced and I am pleased that this is now being examined.

“Rather than remote speculation on an improbable doomsday scenario, it is this urgent tangible work that should be prioritised to underpin a positive future for our local hospital services.”

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