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Job cuts and 'closure' of Queen Mary's Hospital

PUBLISHED: 11:42 26 January 2012

The possibility of closing Queen Mary's Hospital has been published in official documents for the first time

The possibility of closing Queen Mary's Hospital has been published in official documents for the first time

Archant

Closing Queen Mary's Hospital and cutting 695 jobs 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 £69m, is already saddled with £140m debts.

Drastic measures outlined in a report discussed at yesterday’s board meeting considered the “worst case scenario” of 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.

They read: Our downside case includes a mitigation approach that reduces our footprint from three to two large sites.”

The document talks about the ‘financial benefit of moving from the QMS site’ but says this is offset, amongst other things, by the political unpopularity of closing a hospital.

A Trust spokesman said: “We are working to substantially reduce costs to avoid this in relation to Queen Mary’s.

“Our plan 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.”

Under government plans, all hospitals have to become foundation trusts by proving they can manage their finances and meet clinical targets.

If the SLHT fails to become a foundation trust, it may be swallowed up into an existing successful trust such as Kings or Guys and St Thomas’.

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