South London Healthcare Trust should be dissolved, its special administrator recommended this morning.
The report of the special administrator, former Department of Health head of provider delivery Matthew Kershaw, was sent to health secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday. Its 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 the emergency department at Lewisham Hospital and merging it with Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which is part of South London Healthcare Trust. This recommendation remains in the final report.
Lewisham Hospital is run by Lewisham Healthcare Trust, a separate legal entity to South London Healthcare Trust.
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.
The final decision now rests with Mr Hunt who must accept them or order an alternative solution by 1 February.
The legislation under which the process was enacted does not require him to announce to Parliament his decision on 1 February but he must have formally made a decision by this date.
Mr Kershaw also recommended a chair of the implementation process be appointed to see through the change programme across the different affected organisations.