Government policy has left RCHT ‘high and dry’

Posted on: 3rd February 2015

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust will remain ‘financially challenged’ unless the Government can ‘cut it some slack’ or deal with the causes of its debt.  That was the remark today of Health Select Committee Member and MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Constituency of St Ives, Andrew George.

RCHT has confirmed that it was £8.6m off its financial target and £5.6m in deficit for this year.  When it found itself in a similar level of debt nine years ago it precipitated suspensions and resignations of senior executives, chairmen and a Whitehall based intervention to ‘turn around’ what was considered to be a failing Trust.

It is anticipated that this outcome will leave RCHT with more than £20m of debt, including the legacy debt from nearly a decade ago.

Mr George said “Being saddled with massive legacy debt, undermined by a parasitic private sector and the lack of long term vision and grip caused by a revolving door of perpetually changing Chief Executives and Chairmen and women have created a toxic combination for our acute hospitals which are vital to the local population.

“As Cornwall’s underfunding of the last ten years is far in excess of the legacy debt the least that the Government could do is to write off that debt.

“A growing community of private companies have successfully positioned themselves to undertake the easier and more profitable NHS work, leaving RCHT with the more complex loss making services which the private sector would prefer to leave well alone.

“With seven Chairmen and women and seven Chief Executives in the last nine years it’s hardly surprising that no-one’s had the focus or commitment to get to the nub of the challenges facing the Trust.

“If we don’t want the Trust to simply get caught in an unstoppable downward spiral then the Government should step in and deal with each of the three problems I have identified.”