Threatened hospital wins a last minute reprieve
PUBLISHED: 16:29 14 January 2009 | UPDATED: 09:52 12 August 2010
SURGERY units that were poised for closure will remain open at least until October, a hospital boss revealed. Dr Chris Streather, chief executive of Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust (BHT) said a decision on the closure of Orpington Treatment Centre (OTC) woul
SURGERY units that were poised for closure will remain open at least until October, a hospital boss revealed.
Dr Chris Streather, chief executive of Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust (BHT) said a decision on the closure of Orpington Treatment Centre (OTC) would not be made in March, as planned.
The news came days before the trust finally confirmed its four-year overspending debt of £49.5 million will be written off by NHS London with money ring-fenced for Primary Care Trusts.
Speaking to Bromley council's heath scrutiny committee on Tuesday, Mr Streather said the potential merger of hospital trusts in south-east London could render the closure unnecessary.
He said: "It would be very foolish to close it down just because of the Bromley situation and then found we need it in the new situation.
"If patients are going to a ring-fenced environment with very low rates of hospital inquired infection and cancellations, it is quite an efficient way to use NHS facilities. We want to keep that option open.
"I think it will be realistically October time before a well developed plan is made as to how the estate will be used."
Closing facilities at OTC would be a 'blind decision' if it were made before knowing whether Bromley, Bexley and Greenwich hospital trusts will merge, he added.
The announcement was welcomed by members of Bromley Community Care Protection Group (BCPG), who campaigned for the 66 bed unit for six years.
Last October, BHT announced a plan to save £1 million by mothballing facilities at OTC and moving them to the Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough.
However the decision was postponed within weeks when BHT discovered that it had to try and get 700 patients treated before the New Year to meet the 18-week GP referral target.
Dr Streather, formerly the medical director at St George's Hospital, Tooting, is BHT's fifth chief executive in less than two years.
Until his announcement, a decision on the centre's future was expected to be made by BHT by the end of February.
The Trust plans to start the next financial year with only its £50 million PFI debt remaining.
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