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In-debt trust 'should be broken up'
A debt-ridden NHS trust which was on the brink of bankruptcy should be dissolved, an official consultation has concluded.
South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs three hospitals in the capital, was the first ever to be placed in administration after it started losing around £1.3 million a week.
Special administrator Matthew Kershaw said the trust should now be broken up, with other organisations taking over the management and delivery of its services.
The report, which came after Mr Kershaw was tasked with putting the trust on a stable financial footing last year, recommended any debts should be written off by the Department of Health (DoH) so new organisations are not "saddled with the issues of the past".
Its recommendations would result in a radical overhaul of services in south London.
This would see the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in Woolwich come together with Lewisham Healthcare NHS Trust to create a new organisation providing care for the communities of Greenwich and Lewisham.
The Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough, near Bromley, would be acquired by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
The report stated: "In order to deliver this transformation programme, South London Healthcare NHS Trust should be dissolved and other organisations should take over the management and delivery of the NHS services it currently provides."
A DoH spokesman said: "Where trusts face long-standing problems we have been clear that doing nothing is not an option. It is crucial that patients in south east London have high-quality health services that will last.
"There isn't an easy solution to the problems at South London Healthcare NHS Trust. The Secretary of State has received the recommendations from the Trust Special Administrator which he will carefully consider and will announce his final decision by early February 2013."