The Secretary of State for Health has given the final approval to transfer Queen Mary’s Hospital Sidcup to new, stable NHS ownership and to dissolve the failed South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT). Queen Mary’s will be transferred to the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust at midnight on Monday night (30 September) with hospital services being provided by a number of NHS organisations.
SLHT was put into administration in July 2012 after suffering crippling losses. The trust which ran Queen Mary’s Sidcup, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and the Princess Royal University Hospital in Bromley had been suffering losses of £1 million a week and posted a deficit of £69.8 million in 2011/12 alone – the largest deficit of any NHS body in England.
From 1 October Queen Mary’s Hospital will be owned by Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust with services being provided to patients by Oxleas, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Guy's and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Bexley Council.
Oxleas have set out ambitious plans to invest up to £30million over the next five years to improve facilities at the hospital. Proposals would also see a new radiotherapy centre at the hospital allowing cancer patients to be treated locally in Sidcup rather than having to travel to Central London.
Continuing services will include:
- 24-hour unscheduled care, including an urgent care centre and GP out-of-hours service
- Older people's services
- Children's services, including the children's development centre and paediatric walk-in unit
- Specialist services, such as chemotherapy
- Community midwifery services, linked to the hospitals where women from Bexley give birth
- Outpatients services, such as general surgery, gynaecology and paediatrics
- Day surgery
- Diagnostics, including scans, ultrasound and x-ray
- Therapies, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- Inpatient mental health services for local patients
- Community and inpatient neuro-rehabilitation services
James Brokenshire proposed the transfer of the hospital to Oxleas more than a year ago (see related story at http://www.jamesbrokenshire.com/news/change-hospital-ownership-secure-i…) and has been pressing Ministers and NHS executives to see the change brought about.
Commenting, James said:
“This is an important day for the NHS in this area as it finally draws a line under a period of crippling instability and safeguards the future of Queen Mary’s Hospital.
“The transfer of Queen Mary’s into new NHS ownership provides the hospital with sound foundations to deliver much needed improvements to local healthcare. This includes partnerships with other NHS organisations such as the central London teaching hospitals enabling them to apply their clinical expertise to services provided locally.
“Oxleas’ proposals for significant financial investment will improve facilities at the hospital. The creation of a new radiotherapy unit at Queen Mary’s will also significantly enhance the treatment of cancer patients in this area.
“It is right that the mistake of the last Government in creating the South London Healthcare Trust saddled with onerous PFI contracts and burdened by a mountain of debt has been addressed. It was clear pretty early on that SLHT was dysfunctional and unsustainable and firm action was needed to secure the future of our local hospitals.
“The changes at Queen Mary’s open a new chapter in its 96 year history and I believe will help deliver high quality hospital services for years to come.”