'Why is Epsom Hospital in a much worse financial state than St Helier?", asks MP
Epsom’s MP is demanding to know Epsom Hospital is in a much worse financial state than St Helier Hospital - when both hospitals were considered to be in equally dire financial straits two years ago.
Speaking to the Epsom Guardian today, Chris Grayling said he has a series of meetings in the next two to three weeks with NHS London, NHS Surrey, the local GPs’ commissioning group, and the South Coast strategic health authority to determine how the financial situation at Epsom Hospital has deteriorated "in a way that has caused eyebrows to be raised".
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is predicting a £19.4m deficit for 2012-13 and last month the trust, which spends about £9m on staff costs each month, had to use £7m of bail-out funding to pay wages.
The current deficit of Epsom Hospital stands at £13.8m - nearly double that of St Helier Hospital which is £5.6m in the red.
Mr Grayling said: "I need much clearer information and evidence of how the financial position at Epsom has changed so much.
"It has been a couple of years since the issue was last discussed, but at that time, the message was that, actually, the deficit was divided pretty equally between the two sites. So how is there now such a shift towards Epsom?
"I also want to understand what the potential of the Epsom site is and whether facilities are being under-used.
"There is a feeling that Epsom is a poor relation in this trust and that it’s losing business to the primacy care sector.
"The worry I have is whether the financial exercise has been done properly in terms of the evidence asked for and the information provided."
Mr Grayling said the informal Epsom hospital campaign group, which has met when necessary over the years, is to reconvene.
He added: "That’s not because there is an immediate threat or need for a campaign, but to prepare for it if there needs to be one."