Monitor to probe ‘sudden’ financial decline at London teaching hospital

1 May 15

Monitor has launched an investigation into a deterioration in the finances at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a major teaching hospital in South London.

The watchdog said the financial decline had been ‘sudden’ and its investigation would look at how and why this came about and identify some possible solutions.

St George’s attained foundation status in February this year on the understanding that it would break even in 2014/15 and make a small surplus in 2015/16, but it recorded a £16.8m loss for 2014/15 and could record an even larger deficit for the current year.

Monitor said it wants to ‘understand why St George’s has failed to sustain its progress in treating patients more promptly, as requested at the time of its foundation trust authorisation’.

A trust statement said: ‘Towards the end of 2014/15 there was a significant divergence from plan ending the year with a £16m deficit instead of the small planned surplus.

‘As a major trauma centre, the trust has been particularly affected by the operational pressures that have been seen nationally. During the winter we were faced with unprecedented demand from very ill patients and fixed capacity in terms of beds and operating theatres. This resulted in a cancellation of planned operations and longer waiting times for some patients. Financially it led to reduced income from planned activity combined with increased costs of staff and supplies.

‘The St George’s board is committed to maintaining quality and safety and takes its responsibility seriously for addressing these issues.

‘We will work with Monitor to understand fully how and why this situation has happened, and to identify possible solutions.’

The outcome of the investigation will be announced in due course.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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