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South London NHS Trust

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  • frightening. i worried before, but when the recession starts to hit the health care i really start to worry.
  • I have to say due to being run over last night I visited qe in the back of an ambulance last night. After sitting in a&e for 3 hour's I gave up and went home in a cab. Didn't even get seen to by a nurse. Place is a sham of a hospital, sooner something gives the better. That said as I am suffering so much I went to qm in sidcup thus morning. Seen in 5 mins and looked after so well. Please keep this place going.
  • Can anyone explain in laymens terms what the potential consequences are ?
  • Hard to say what can really happen but they could close all 3 down leaving Greenwich bexley and parts of bromley without a hospital. That would be a worst case. Some services are likley to go before any full closures. Government might well have to step in.
  • A friend of mine (lives in Eltham) is seriously ill and is in kidney and heart failure. When his GP told him he needed to be hospitalised, he advised him to go straight to Kings rather than the QE. That says it all really.
  • This really has been the elephant in the room for at least the past 10 years.
    The 'PFI' scheme brought in to finance the QE was at best ill-considered, and was going to be a burden on the trust.
    I remember going to there when I was working on the Nursing Times about this time, as it was 'a new flag ship hospital'.
    Having scrapped the Greenwich district, and Brook hospital previously. Queen Mary's infection rate were also appauling, as well as a host of complaints, neglect etc. It also had a horrendous black hole in it's finances. From what I see it still has an horrendous hole in it's finances, but like it's infection rates has made a great improvement.

    To my knowledge they reduced services at QM because the trust was committed to QE.

    When the services at QM were reduced and closed and transferred to Darenth Valley and QE I remember coming on this very site and expressing my concern and alarm. Bexley's MP made a commitment at the time to the future of QM, it has not resummed it's casualty, or maternity wards, and from what I see is unlikely to. £69 million in debt the Trust is now in a 'panic' . It should have been in a panic 12 years ago. I am a supporter of the NH. The vast majority of it's workers are hard working and do a tremendous job. Both my mother and grandmother died at QE during this time, but I have no arguments with the care they received. My father in law died 5 weeks ago at Darenth.
    The care I have received at QM has always been excellent, although at times cumbersome and have had to wait longer than I had wanted to.

    We take our local NHS for granted. The idea of the PFI has failed in this model. New buildings are great, but it is the quality of care, and compassion of the staff that is the important criteria. Not some accountant on the Trust management , it was full of them in the first place and look at the mess they have got us in. By all accounts there seem to be many other Trusts in the same state.

  • Ken - I agree with your view. It sounds a real mess - the outcome sadly will probably adversely impact the hard working individuals who have been battling to deliver a meaningful service while clearly under resourced. I have no political affiliation but I do tire of the nonsense some of these politicians spout.

    The comment from the labour spokesman on the PFI initiative beggars belief when there is every indication the burden of this debt has been a notable factor in the efficient management of the Trust. The most junior bank manager will tell you any new business under capitalised from the outset will struggle. It is the reason most new businesses fail so in all likelihood it was decisions made under the previous adminstration that have now come home to roost.

    Get it wrong at the beginning and it is bloody hard to put right.


    Grapevine49

  • @Grapevine49 - Couldn't have put it better myself.
  • Queen Mary's seems to have been sidelined as a result of the ill-founded idea of PFI. I got off my ar$e and went down to QM to protest when they closed A&E, but to no avail. It scares me that QM has been allowed to go this way - it's position right by the A20 and close to the M25 surely makes it an important resource?
  • Before we start goung along party lines just a reminder that PFI's were a Tory initiative continued by Labour i.e both as bad as each other.

    It was suggested on Today that this may actually suit the politicians in that they felt there was over provision of services yet did not want to be seen as anti-NHS therefore they get an "administrator" in to do the dirty work instead.
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  • The care at the PRU and QMH was great when my children were born (especially in the now shut Neo-Natal unit at QMH).

    There seems talk of Queen Mary's being taken over by Oxleas Foundation Trust. I think this is best case scenario (even if some services go) otherwise I fear for it's future.
  • edited June 2012
    IMO two factors are at play. The PFI was a Tory idea that was then embraced by New Labour, but NL did it for financial reasons rather than ideological ones. Grapevine is correct, it was common knowledge from the outset that PFI's were financially unsustainable and doomed to failure. In the meantime, quite a lot of people made themselves a lot of money setting up this doomed business. They too have been paid for failure. But there was also the problem that London was considered to have too many hospitals. Two things seem certain, the non-tax avoiding taxpayer will pick up the tab and the sick will feel its consequences.
  • I don't see it as political BA, in that I don't care who's idea it was or who implemented it, I just want decent hospital provision in my local area - the protest I went on was organised by someone who stood as an independent at the last election - his campaign was largely centred around saving Queen Mary's.
  • Sadly, Ken and Gravepine are spot on.

    I was part of the Finance Team at QMS for just over 3 years after University. I need to be very careful what I say and wont go into details for obvious reasons but there were major problems at QMS going back beyond the start of this century and it really isnt a surprise to me that QMS and now South London Healthcare find themselves in a complete mess.

    PFI makes up the bulk of the debt but spending was out of control even when I was there and I left around 10 years ago now.

    So much money was wasted. Disgraceful. If you knew some of the things I knew, your blood would boil.







  • What happens when football clubs go into administration? They get restructured, much of the debt is written off, and continue to operate.

    It's a terrible mess, but there's no way that the hospitals will close down and disappear, as the restructuring and rationalisation of hospitals in the area has already been done.
  • .
    What happens when football clubs go into administration? They get restructured, much of the debt is written off, and continue to operate.

    It's a terrible mess, but there's no way that the hospitals will close down and disappear, as the restructuring and rationalisation of hospitals in the area has already been done.
    That however assumes that the NHS is destined to survive in Our Master's Plans. As they say, watch this space......................
  • Wasn't directly involved in PFI contracts but I used to work for a construction company that was. The concept of PFI isn't the problem, it's just like borrowing on a mortgage if you don't have enough cash to build a property. The banks provided the finance, and it's the finance terms which causes the problems.
    The trusts were lambs to the slaughter. They didn't understand how much profit was being built in to the contracts in terms of the value of a future income stream from a gold star tenant such as a hospital. The first thing that happens is that the right to the PFI rent is sold for a profit for the banks and PFI company.
    The PFI company then has a guaranteed facilities contract that it sub-contracts making a turn on that. At the bottom of the pile you have NHS staff, smaller contractors and low paid labour being screwed to the wall and they are the ones responsible for making it all work.
    Making hospitals work is the last thing on the agenda when PFI contracts are being negotiated. It's all down to accountants and financiers to strip as much as they can from the vast sums changing hands. You can't entirely blame them though, it's the incompetence of hospital managers who make decisions by committee to ensure no one is responsible and are way out of their depth in matters of commercial finance and managing budgets.
  • perhaps it should be allowed to go bust so the debts can be written off?
  • Maybe i'm wrong , but i always thought that a group of people wanted Queen Mary's to go down , so it could be sold off for housing?
    Disgusting.
  • Maybe i'm wrong , but i always thought that a group of people wanted Queen Mary's to go down , so it could be sold off for housing?
    Disgusting.
    I would never claim that QM is a shinning example of all that is best in health care, but there are a lot worse.
    Yes they have had there issues, and it was badly managed over 10 years ago.
    Since then it has made great strives to turn things around in both clinical excellence and patient care, despite what must be a sinking ship to retain there employees. As Saga Lout put's it......I don't see it as political BA, in that I don't care who's idea it was or who implemented it, I just want decent hospital provision in my local area...... Surely people are entitled to decent treatment based on there clinical need, quickly and as cost effective as possible.

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  • I agree its not purely a party political matter but the rise of PFI that is the problem.

    But how did we get to this place ?

    In my opinion the issue with the NHS as well as other publicly funded organisations such as London Underground and local councils is that they could not raise sufficient funds through the traditional taxation methods and needed to renew their infrastructure ,so by way of magic the idea of PFI ie borrowing the money akin to a mortgage was born .

    For the politicians of all sides they want to achieve as RA Butler called it 'The art of the possible' so PFI was sold to them as a way of fufilling election pledges without incurring massive capital expenditure thus not needing to raise taxes .

    It is interesting that the history of elections show that parties who want to raise tax normally get rejected by the electorate , this essentially was one of the big differences between Neil Kinnock in 1992 and Tony Blair in 1997 , the by product of this is PFI which has also saddled future generations with debt .

    Personally I always felt uneasy with PFI and wonder what 'administration' for a NHS Trust actually means because I suspect the contractors will still get their money as others have said it will be hard working staff who will pay for this .
  • PFi is coming home !! Getting out of these contracts will cost millions in payments and short times to pay (soundslike a Pardew contract). How complicated are they ? well lawyers now specialise in looking at them and advising.

    schools will be next. "Building Schools fot The Future is a PFI ----the clue is "building for the future" but its paying for generations that is the actual.

    The Tories are playing a very dangerous game. Trying to show Labours failing PFI BS is one thing people will only see the servives get shot to bits and blame the Government of the day.
  • A friend of mine (lives in Eltham) is seriously ill and is in kidney and heart failure. When his GP told him he needed to be hospitalised, he advised him to go straight to Kings rather than the QE. That says it all really.
    I think you'll find that the reason your friend was advised to go Kings direct is because its a specialist Renal unit and one of the best cardiac nits in the UK. If your friend was that ill, the QE would have sent them there after sitting aound in Woolwich for a few hours. It makes sense to go straight to KCH.
  • I agree its not purely a party political matter but the rise of PFI that is the problem.

    But how did we get to this place ?

    .
    The rise of PFI within the NHS was a John Major initiative. The private sector to my certain knowledge was licking its lips in anticipation of future riches. Major's policy was then sustained by Blairites at a time when Blair was trying to prove to Murdoch and the City that the economy was safe in Labour's hands. This boxed the Treasury in as money was needed to improve the NHS. Despite fierce opposition by Old Labour who saw PFI as privatisation by the back door, Blair and pals opted to continue with the buy now pay later policy of PFI with Millburn famously declaring 'It's PFI or bust'. Gordon Brown was then able to free up some cash for popular policies such as spending on education and the NHS. Buying votes and to hell with the future may be another way of viewing the whole sorry fiasco.
  • aneurin bevin and the like would be turning in their graves would be turning in his grave
  • Not only is this place financially mismanaged it is seriously not a good place to be sick in. As a point of reference I work for the NHS but at another Trust.
  • Before the election Mr Cameron stated that the NHS was safe in his hands.

  • Not only is this place financially mismanaged it is seriously not a good place to be sick in. As a point of reference I work for the NHS but at another Trust.
    So that's alright then? My trust is better than your trust. Let's close it down rather than try to improve it and get some value for our (taxpayers) investment. If we keep closing everything down then eventually your trust will become the worst and what next?

    We've paid for local health services for local people from a NATIONAL Health Service. Dividing and ruling the NHS doesn't help ordinary people.

  • Steady on Jorge, SHG wasnt saying that at all.
  • Not only is this place financially mismanaged it is seriously not a good place to be sick in. As a point of reference I work for the NHS but at another Trust.
    So that's alright then? My trust is better than your trust. Let's close it down rather than try to improve it and get some value for our (taxpayers) investment. If we keep closing everything down then eventually your trust will become the worst and what next?

    We've paid for local health services for local people from a NATIONAL Health Service. Dividing and ruling the NHS doesn't help ordinary people.

    Hold your horses. That's not what I meant. Queen Elizabeth is my local hospital so I have a very real interest in it being as good as it possibly can be. However I have had cause to have within the last 18 months two members of my family be inpatients one being my daughter and I was shocked at the level of care both received. Add to that other not so great stories I have heard from people I know who work there and that is what I base my opinion on. I mention I work at another trust for no other reason than to say I know what hospitals should be like as I am a senior member of staff in my department.

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