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Hospital boss insists closing theatres would save £1million a year

PUBLISHED: 18:00 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 16 August 2010

A HEALTH chief said closing theatres at a much-loved hospital was purely a financial decision . Michael Marchment who took over as Chief Executive of Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust on June 13, told a packed board meeting last Thursday that the Trust has a

A HEALTH chief said closing theatres at a much-loved hospital was 'purely a financial decision'.

Michael Marchment who took over as Chief Executive of Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust on June 13, told a packed board meeting last Thursday that the Trust has a "significant financial problem."

He said the decision to close the three theatres at Orpington Treatment Centre and to transfer staff and patients to Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) Farnborough was his decision and would still be going ahead if A Picture of Health did not exist.

The closure of the theatres, which were given an £8.8million facelift in 2003, is expected in November after "one-off repairs" are made to PRUH's day unit.

Mr Marchment, who is on a six-month contract with the Trust, said the closures would save them £1 million a year.

He said: "To give you an idea, if a major piece of equipment broke we would go into the red.

"Last year, the hospital spent £17 million a year more than it earned.

"This is not the £100 million of debt which has been accumulated over many years.

"It is the responsibility of NHS managers to use tax payers'

money effectively."

He said since April, PRUH has changed the way it works which means it has extra capacity in its theatres.

He said: "We no longer have medical patients who are on surgical wards. Of the 15 theatres, we are using two out of three of them.We have up to 50 surgical beds free. We can and must, in terms of prudence, close three theatres.

"Unequivocally the sensible decision was to relocate all our surgery. That decision was taken purely for financial reasons and efficiency reasons. I do not criticise the investment years ago because that was following a national trend which is extremely unlikely to revert to what it is now."

He said surgery will be done on a day surgery basis rather than in-patient, adding: "Real savings will start on December 1, the day we close them.


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