Notes to editors
For further information or to request an interview, please contact The King’s Fund press office on 020 7307 2585 (or 07584 146035 if calling out of hours).
(1) South East London incorporates two large teaching and research hospitals - Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s - and four district general hospitals - Queen Elizabeth, Woolwich; University Hospital, Lewisham; Queen Mary’s, Sidcup; and Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust. The latter four hospitals have faced chronic financial and quality issues for a number of years. The reconfiguration process (‘A Picture of Health’) began in 2005. In December 2010, NHS London announced that the proposed reconfiguration met the four tests set by the government.
(2) For example, strong evidence is cited in the report of lower mortality rates for stroke and heart services delivered in this way.
(3) The report recommends funding the capital component of the tariff paid to hospitals so that it reflects differences in fixed capital costs, rather than paying the average capital costs of all hospitals as at present. This would increase funding for hospitals with large PFI debts at no net cost to the NHS.
(4) The report recommends that the Department of Health support acquisitions of hospitals in financial difficulty by high-performing foundation trusts. While this may reduce competition, it is the most effective way of accelerating the adoption of ‘best practice’ models of care to improve quality for patients.
(5) The four tests are (i) support from GP commissioners; (ii) strengthened public and patient engagement; (iii) clarity on the clinical evidence base; and (iv) consistency with current and prospective patient choice.
(6) Around 70 hospital trusts have yet to achieve the financial performance and quality of care needed to become foundation trusts. Many have significant financial deficits, often as a result of large PFI schemes.
London NHS Trust and a former non-executive director of Guy's and St Thomas' Foundation Trust. He is a senior associate at the Nuffield Trust and a former senior associate at The King’s Fund. He was a founder member of the South East London Service Redesign and Sustainability Board.
(8) The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas. www.kingsfund.org.uk