20 September 2011

In June the Financial Times published research that identified seventeen hospital trusts in challenging financial difficulties. Read the article ‘Hospitals must make deep cuts to survive’ in the Financial Times 3 June 2011: free registration but googling the article title brings it up in full.

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT), with hospitals at Truro (Treliske), Penzance (West Cornwall), and Hayle (St Michaels), is one of the seventeen.

I think that the geography of Cornwall will ensure that some of the dire possibilities raised in the article for the seventeen will not apply to Cornwall hospitals though a merger is possible. Last November in the post RCHT again I looked somewhat gloomily at the RCHT; and the article ‘Hospital is facing fines over surgery waiting time failure’ in South West Business for 19 May 2011 adds to that though I hope solid progress is making on waiting times.

This month thinktank Reform published a report by Paul Corrigan and Caroline Mitchell, The hospital is dead, long live the hospital: sustainable English NHS hospitals in the modern world (September 2011). This says, “As things stand, twenty to thirty acute hospital trusts will never become foundation trusts” (page 6).

The report does not identify the thirty trusts but RCHT is probably among them.

In the post Scalpelled I looked at the need to make larger cuts in hospital budgets and wondered what effect this would have on RCHT’s aim of becoming a foundation trust.

However, there is light amid the gloom. The RCHT itself is sounding fairly upbeat about getting foundation trust status and a rescheduling of its debt. Read this upbeat recent report here.

Generally, an uncertain outlook, I think. I very much want the Cornwall hospitals to succeed and I hope the measured confidence of the RCHT is right.

Addendum 22 September 2011
Happily RCHT hospitals are not on this disaster list. Note, however, that PFI first came to Britian under the Tories in 1992 though it was the last Labour governbment that used them for hospital rebuilding projects.