South west London hospital closure threat after NHS bossses spend more than £4m on bed cutting plans

Health bosses have spent more than £4m on developing controversial proposals that could lead to the closure of a major south west London hospital.

NHS England has spent £4,158,311 on its sustainability and transformation plan (STP), a proposal expected to cut bed capacity at one of south west London’s five major hospitals – Kingston, Croydon, St George’s and Epsom and St Helier.

The money has been spent on paying managing consultants to draw up strategies across the country, with south west London incurring the biggest spends.

Some £1,807,340 was paid to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for “programme support” and a further £477,715 for “specialist commissioning work”.

The figures, obtained through an FOI request, come despite numerous campaign groups and think tanks pointing to a growing crisis within the NHS.

This year Kingston Hospital has issued two warnings to residents to avoid using the service as it struggled to cope with increasing pressure.

Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association’s council, said: ‘It is outrageous that so much vital resource is being handed to consultancy firms for their part in delivering STPs which, ultimately, may never come to fruition.

“These figures are especially concerning given that everyone can see a huge crisis unfolding within our health service.”

Read More at: Sutton Guardian (21st March 2017)