Details emerge of health bosses' plan to save St Helier Hospital services
Details have emerged of health bosses' action plan to save St Helier Hospital.
A major shortfall in St Helier Hospital's finances means it has to find alternative options to reach foundation status by September 2014 - or face Government administrators stepping in to run the hospital.
The hospital was dealt a major blow in January when a merger with St George's Hospital to form a foundation trust collapsed.
Its future has been thrown further into jeopardy by the proposed loss of its accident and emergency, maternity, and children's wards as part of the NHS Better Services, Better Value (BSBV) review.
The hospital and its partners - including Sutton Council and the Royal Marsden - have been working with health think-tank The King’s Fund to find a solution for St Helier to reach foundation trust without losing the key services.
A clinical model seen by this newspaper shows the hospital believes it can be financially viable by maintaining all its key existing services, as well as adding an urgent care centre, primary care centre, and cancer surgery units.
The hospital would also take over the management of a broad range of community services such as post hospital treatment and physiotherapy currently run by the Royal Marsden Hospital.
Hospital bosses believe by bringing responsibility for the services in-house, millions of pounds of efficiency savings could be found.
St Helier has also received a commitment from Sutton Council for closer working improve to improve provision of social care, which could again make significant savings.
The hospital believes the changes can bridge the black hole in St Helier's finances which have so far meant its trust has not been allowed to go it alone financially.
By 2012-13 St Helier and Epsom Hospital Trust are predicted to be running at a £19.4m deficit.
The plan will be presented to NHS London and the Department of Health for outline approval in the Autumn ahead of the hospitals de-merger with Epsom Hospital.
The model is also due to be presented to BSBV bosses as the hospital's response to a consultation on the loss of its A&E, maternity services, and children's wards.
Hospital bosses will argue this model could secure foundation trust status for the hospital. It could be key to saving the hospital from the closure of its frontline services, as the NHS must ensure St Helier can also gain foundation status.
St Helier has major doubts over the financial modelling presented by NHS SW London that the hospital can be financially viable after losing its A&E, maternity and children's wards, by becoming a specialist hospital for planned operations for patients across SW London.
Matthew Hopkins, the hospital's chief executive said: "Local people will be aware that St Helier Hospital is facing tough financial times and, while we offer some of the best clinical care, we have to explore options which will help secure the long term future of our hospital."
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