Last week was a big one for hospital news in the national papers, with a trust finding itself declared “bankrupt” for the first time.
Or more accurately, it has seen a failure regime process begun by health secretary Andrew Lansley.
Staff at South London Healthcare Trust found out the government was using the first stage of its powers under the National Health Service Act 2006 when they saw the BBC News at Ten last Monday evening.
But how could this be followed up for Wednesday’s papers?
The Daily Mail said the trust had “lavished more than £1 million on a ‘fat cat’ consultant offering moneysaving tips”. It also found space for “another 20 hospitals” facing a “cash crisis”.
The Independent splashed the cash crisis trusts story on its front page. It cunningly came up with a different number to the one put out by the government by adding in problem foundation trusts.
But the list of trusts seemed strangely familiar. In fact, it seems identical to the list of trusts put out by the Department of Health in October after a National Audit Office report on trust finances.
Had this been updated in the subsequent nine months? No - and four of the 21 trusts on the Daily Mail and Independent’s danger list no longer existed.
Newham, Whipps Cross, Winchester and Eastleigh and Trafford Healthcare trusts all ceased to exist at the start of the financial year, having merged with other organisations. A fifth, Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare Trust, also disappeared as of 1 July.
The Independent’s Christina Patterson opined that the NHS had “too many hospitals”. This was an interesting point to hear made in the national press, but it was undercut somewhat by her assertion that Ealing and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare trusts were among those in “big trouble” because of the private finance initiative.
Both are untroubled by PFI.
- Andrew Lansley
- Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
- Foundation trusts
- NEWHAM UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- Private finance initiatives (PFI)
- SCARBOROUGH AND NORTH EAST YORKSHIRE HEALTH CARE NHS TRUST
- SOUTH LONDON HEALTHCARE TRUST
- TRAFFORD HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST
- WHIPPS CROSS UNIVERSITY HOSP NHS TRUST
- WINCHESTER AND EASTLEIGH HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST