The special administrator’s final report on South London Healthcare Trust has recommended handing one of its hospitals to a foundation trust.
The report of the special administrator, former Department of Health head of provider delivery Matthew Kershaw, was sent to health secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday.
Mr Kershaw was appointed last summer after Mr Hunt’s predecessor Andrew Lansley made South London the first organisation to be subject to the new NHS failure regime for organisations viewed as financially unsustainable.
The final report’s recommendations remained largely unchanged from the draft version delivered in October.
The draft report had recommended the Princess Royal site in Bromley be merged with King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust or another undetermined partner, but the final report confirmed King’s should take over the hospital.
The special administration process has been criticised by patients, MPs and clinicians in Lewisham after it recommended closing full the emergency department at Lewisham Hospital and merging it with Queen Elizabeth Hospital, part of South London Healthcare Trust. This recommendation remains in the final report.
The recommendation for the other main South London Healthcare Trust site, in Bexley, was for it to be passed to Oxleas Foundation Trust, as per the draft recommendations.
South London Healthcare Trust would then be dissolved.
The final report also recommended Lewisham be one of five sites across south east London to have a midwife-led birth unit, something that had not been in the original recommendations.
Conroy Lawrence, Unison branch chair at Lewisham Hospital, said staff were “shocked but not surprised” by the report.
“We know the overwhelming majority of clinical and public responses to the review opposed closure of Lewisham Hospital A&E and it is therefore fundamentally undemocratic to simply ignore that mandate as this report effectively does,” he said.
“These recommendations are cost driven, If you take millions out of NHS as this government is doing then A&E departments, maternity units and hospitals will close.”
Murad Qureshi, chair of the London Assembly’s health and environment committee, said: “Today’s recommendations are disappointing and raise questions about the future of healthcare in south London.”
The final decision now rests with Mr Hunt who must accept them or order an alternative solution by 1 February.