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South London NHS Trust collapses under debt burden 12 July 2012

South London NHS Healthcare Trust has ended weeks of speculation and entered administration after it ran up unsustainable debts.

The Department of Health invoked its “unsustainable provider” rules after the healthcare trust overspent en route to becoming one of the top five trusts in England for mortality rates.

The trust is the result of the merger of the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich, the Princess Royal hospital in Orpington and the Queen Mary hospital in Sidcup.

At the time the hospitals were merged, the deficit was around £21 million. The trust posted a £40m deficit in 2011.

In a press statement released this morning, the trust confirmed the Secretary of State’s decision to place the trust in administration.

It said: “We are all hopeful that today’s announcement will be a step towards resolving long-standing financial issues which also involves the wider SE London health sector and ensures that the future provision of quality healthcare services for local people is maintained.

“In spite of the massive improvements in the quality of care – among the lowest mortality and infection rates now in England – the financial challenges facing the Trust remain significant.

“We would like to reassure local patients and members of the public that our staff will continue to provide first rate services as normal. There will be no impact on care and all scheduled appointments will continue as usual.”

Moon Beever’s Frances Coulson noted that the South London Healthcare NHS Trust is just one insolvent trust going into Administration.

She added: “NHS trusts are increasingly under financial pressure especially with the PFI issues coming home to roost.

“The range of cases and problems which insolvency practitioners have to deal with, especially in such sensitive areas, highlight the skills, sensitivity and professionalism, not to say experience, required of them, in a market where even the Insolvency profession is under severe pressure and many firms are making cuts.”



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