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Queen Mary’s hospital closure ‘likely’

PUBLISHED: 14:50 01 February 2012

Health policy expert John Lister

Health policy expert John Lister

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A health campaigner says closing Queen Mary’s hospital is the most likely outcome for the tust to secure foundation status.

South London NHS Trust is set to make a loss of 69.8million this year and is already £140 million in debt. But Health Secretary Andrew Lansley wants all hospital trusts to be ready to apply for foundation status by 2014.

The trust has still not published the report it passed to NHS London which gave the options of closing the Sidcup hospital or losing 695 posts in order to gain foundation status, as revealed in the Bexley Tines.

London Health Emergency’s John Lister said: “Closure of Queen Mary’s hospital is still the most likely outcome because I can’t see any other way they will get themselves out of deficit, which will leave the other hospitals in the area struggling to cope.

“If they close Queen Mary’s which the trust say is not their first choice they are going to lose money to other service providers.

“I can’t see any other way they will pull themselves out of the PFI debt.

“They should make that report public. To become a foundation trust which the health bill wants, they need to prove they have sound finances.

“It maybe a fallback plan but it is the most convincing. The trust have denied they are going to close it.

“The trust is in so indebted that they are in the pockets of all kinds of people. They haven’t got the power to make the decision.

“We have asked NHS London to publish the report about the affordability of hospitals in London under the Freedom of Information Act but they have still not published it.

“You have the most secretive people sitting on these reports.

“The buck lies with George Osborne and Andrew Lansley because the money isn’t there to bail them out.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “South London Healthcare NHS Trust has signed and published a Tripartite Formal Agreement (TFA) that sets out what work needs to be done towards applying for Foundation Trust (FT) status.

“A judgement will be taken in April 2012 on the most appropriate format and timing of an FT application for the trust. This judgement will be based on demonstrable progress against TFA milestones and work with partners on future local health strategies.

“The Department of Health is working with the local NHS to closely monitor their TFA delivery.”

A spokesman for NHS London said: “Following a commitment made at its Board meeting last week (Wednesday, January 25), NHS London said publicly that it was pulling information together into a single report. This was to provide a strategic overview of the challenges facing London’s hospitals to become more efficient and affordable. We are currently finalising this report and we expect to publish it over the coming weeks.”


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