ACCIDENT and Emergency services could close if Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust fails to achieve Foundation Trust (FT) status.
The trust would be unable to protect itself from neighbouring hospitals “cherry-picking” key departments if its campaign does not impress health bosses.
Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust chief executive Jonathan Parry revealed he is confident he can lead a successful FT bid but admitted: “It’s do or die time” for our hospitals.
In an exclusive interview with the Advertiser Mr Parry laid bare the harsh reality facing the trust as budget cuts and administrative overhauls are imposed upon the NHS.
The biggest threat to services in Southport and Ormskirk is the looming foundation trust bid.
Should Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust win the approval of the Department of Health and the watchdog, Monitor, it would have a greater say in the way it operates and be able to protect the services it currently provides.
But failure would leave services vulnerable, including A&E for adults and children, both currently provided by the trust.
Mr Parry said: “First of all you have no choice if you don’t become a foundation trust. We would get taken over either wholly or in part by other NHS organisations or the private sector.
“There’s no guarantee of anything that currently exists because I think we do well for the population we serve.
“There’s no guarantee these services would continue... it’s do or die, there’s no doubt about it.”
As part of the application for FT status the trust has to present business plans, show how robust its finances are and gain a degree of public support.
Crucially, according to Mr Parry, our trust is financially secure.
He said: “We have made a surplus for the last five years, which is important because that shows we are able to become a FT. We have got no debt, no borrowing, we have done well financially.
“We are stable currently, there are going to be changes as there is less money and more competition but there’s no reason why we can’t compete with others.
“If we are not FT our surplus this year [expected to be £1.25m] would go back. For the last six years we would have made a surplus of about £7m. That £7m has gone back to the Department of Health, which could possibly be used to bail out failing hospitals.
“Had we been FT we would have kept that money. We could have invested that in new buildings or new staff and that’s the fundamental benefit – that we get to keep our surplus.”
The business plan the trust hopes will impress FT chiefs is based on a radical overhaul of its culture, where attention moves to treating more people within their own homes and communities rather than on the hospital site.
Working with the new Southport and Formby, and West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups, the Trust aims to become an Integrated Care Organisation (ICO).