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South London Healthcare Trust to go into administration

PUBLISHED: 15:42 26 June 2012 | UPDATED: 15:42 26 June 2012

South London Healthcare Trust is on the verge of administration

South London Healthcare Trust is on the verge of administration

Archant

Princess Royal Hospital in Farnborough Common, Orpington, is one of three in a south-east London healthcare trust that is on the verge of going into administration.

South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT), which also owns Queen Elizabeth in Woolwich and Queen Mary’s in Sidcup, has had well-documented financial problems since being formed from three separate trusts in 2009.

Helen Ellis of the Patient Action Group said: “This is a sad day for the hospitals but it was inevitable.

“You can’t cram them all into another trust, think how that would affect the patients?”

John Hemming-Clark, of Independents to Save Queen Mary’s Hospital, added: “A hospital going bust is the sort of announcement we expect from a third-world country.”

SLHT is over £150 million in debt and has made significant cutbacks, most notably at the Frognal Avenue site in Sidcup.

Queen Mary’s saw both the maternity and accident and emergency wards closed down in 2010 and the Patient Action Group has carried out a number of protests against the trust, most recently last month outside Queen Elizabeth.

Orpington MP Jo Johnson held an urgent meeting with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley last night when the news broke.

He said: “It has been clear for some time that the trust structure is failing. History shows that trusts with weak finances eventually underperform.

“I held an urgent meeting with the Health Secretary and sought assurances that there would be no asset-stripping or any rushed attempt to balance the books.”

The trust will be the first in the country to be put under the control of an administrator tasked with sorting out its finances.

Keep Our NHS Public is holding a protest outside the Woolwich hospital this morning.

A statement from SLHT said: “We have entered into discussions with the Department of Health and NHS London on the best future for the Trust and our priority, and that of others involved, is to make sure that our longstanding and well-known financial issues are resolved.

“We expect these discussions to come to a conclusion in the second week in July when a decision will be taken by the Secretary of State.”

What do you think of the news SLHT might is administration? Contact the news room on 0208 477 3858 or robin.cottle@archant.co.uk.

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