The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 9th November 2012
EPSOM and St Helier NHS Trust is set to follow the South London Healthcare NHS Trust into administration. It is facing a £19 million deficit for the year 2012-13 and is reported to have had to raid emergency funds to pay staff wages last week.
Two years ago NHS authorities decided to split the trust because the two hospitals did not have the financial strength to become a foundation trust together.
But that changed when a proposed merger between St Helier and St George’s in Tooting collapsed and then the merger between Epsom University Hospital and Ashford and St Peter’s in Surrey.
The Health Service Journal reported that the trust is now being seriously considered for the Department of Health’s failure regime.
Meanwhile in Peterborough the public sector union Unison is calling for a full inquiry into the disastrous decision by the Board of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation Trust to sign up to a costly Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme that has brought the Trust to the brink of bankruptcy.
It currently has cash to pay its bills only to the end of November, and has admitted that the cost of the PFI — at more than 20 per cent of the Trust’s declining budget — is unaffordable. Unison’s call for an inquiry comes as the special administrator, called in to address runaway debts in a South London hospital trust bankrupted by PFI, has announced far-reaching cuts and reorganisation coupled with government subsidies to keep the two PFI deals afloat.
These include putting the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich into a trust with Lewisham Hospital, which may lose its Accident and Emergency services as a result.
And in the Queen Mary Hospital in Sidcup the gynaecology unit has been merged with the men’s surgical ward. So much for the Government pledge on an end to mixed sex wards!
Unison also reports that the impact of PFI on hospital Trusts in the East of England means that three major hospital schemes — in Norwich, Peterborough and Chelmsford — which cost £642 million to build are set to cost at least £4.25 billion by 2043.
It points out that the exception that proves the rule is Colchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust which decided late in the day that a £127m PFI project was unaffordable, and is now in comfortable surplus compared with the chronic deficits of those which pressed ahead with PFI.
In the north-west doctors and nurses have united in a fight to block plans for a major shakeup of the NHS in Greater Manchester.
The Manchester Evening News revealed last month that clinical experts had drawn up plans for a massive reorganisation of health services in the region.
Campaigners fear that one or more A&E departments in Greater Manchester could be downgraded or closed because of the review — and they will oppose any closures.