Following on from our earlier articles, the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, announced on 12 July that South London Healthcare NHS Trust has been put into administration under the ‘unsustainable providers regime’.
A trust special administrator, Matthew Kershaw, took charge on Monday 16 July. Mr Kershaw is the Department of Health's national director for provider delivery. He will ‘assume full control’ of the trust, taking on the role of the accountable officer, effectively replacing the functions of the trust's board. He is tasked with examining the trust's long-standing problems, both clinical and financial.
Mr Kershaw is due to produce a draft report on 29 October 2012. A month-long consultation period for staff, patients and the public will be followed by a final report in January 2013.
The trust, which was formed in April 2009 on the merger of three hospital trusts, runs the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, the Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich. Two Public Finance Initiatives inherited by the trust have run up deficits of more than £150 million in the last three years.
In his announcement the Health Secretary said that ‘[a]lthough there have been some improvements in mortality rates, maternity services and infection control, and some early signs of improvements in waiting times, they do not go far enough. It will be impossible for South London to build on these improvements while tackling such a large deficit.’