A second struggling NHS trust faces being put into administration.
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS trust, which serves 420,000 people in south-west London and north-east Surrey, is predicting debts of £19 million and is at risk after merger talks with another trust failed.
It is understood that the trust resorted to borrowing emergency funds to pay its latest staff wage bill.
This comes months after Department of Health ministers intervened in the financial crisis at South London Healthcare NHS Trust. Senior NHS officials are said to believe the regime could be applied to Epsom and St Helier.
Campaigners warned that morale among staff was already “on the floor” and that this would add to fears over job security and NHS privatisation.
Geoff Martin, of Health Emergency, said: “This is a mark of the complete and utter chaos that is hitting the health service in London.”
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell, said a decision had already been taken to remove acute services from St Helier hospital.
He told the BBC: “There is no question of Epsom losing services in the short term, though it has some financial challenges that have to be addressed.”
Matthew Hopkins, the trust’s chief executive, said: “Whilst we have no confirmed plans at this stage, we will be working closely with our local clinical commissioning groups, NHS partners and stakeholders to discuss and, in time, agree the next steps.
"We have to protect the interests of our patients and believe that this is the right decision at this point.”
Article from Sophie Goodchild at LondonEveningStandard
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