Andrew George steps up call for RCHT debt to be written off

Posted on: 24th February 2015



West Cornwall MP and member of the Health Select Committee, Andrew George, is stepping up his campaign for the Government to write off Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Trust debt, especially in the light of the current position of the “black alert” crisis status Cornwall’s acute  hospitals.

After a public meeting on local health services which Mr George arranged over the weekend, which saw over 200 members of the public and NHS staff attend, he said there has never been a clearer indication that the public supports increased funding to the NHS.

Earlier in the month, the Trust confirmed that it was £5.6 million in deficit for this year and it is believed this will result in a total debt of £20 million. A financial deficit at the Trust nine years ago resulted in suspensions and resignations of senior executives and chairmen along with a Whitehall based intervention to ‘turn around’ what was considered to be a failing Trust.

Mr George said, “The Government must write off the legacy debt that is hanging around the neck of the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Trust and which is hampering their ability to avoid the risk of perpetual “black alert”. Cornwall’s underfunding of the last ten years is far in excess of this legacy debt, and it will continue to worsen as budget pressures intensify in the coming years.

“I urge commissioners and Ministers to give the NHS more power to resist the predatory private sector which preys on NHS providers like the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s Trust and undermines its ability to achieve financial solvency. Removing the debt would be a first step in solving the Trust’s vulnerability to increased privatisation; indeed, one of the drivers behind its plans to hive off its pathology services. The perpetual revolving door of hospital Chiefs over the last decade is a symptom of a problem and not a solution.”