Health secretary claims Brent’s hospital trust is ‘not fit for purpose’

Central Middlesex, St Mark’s and Northwick Park Hospitals on Andrew Lansley’s ‘blacklist’

A trust which manages hospitals in Brent is not fit for purpose and must either close or merge to survive, according to the health secretary.

Andrew Lansley revealed a list of the 20 most vulnerable trusts last week which included North West London Hospitals (NWLH).

The list was published after government watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) released a report stating there are 20 trusts which are not clinically or financially viable.

NWLH, which manages Central Middlesex, Northwick Park and St Mark’s hospitals, faces �92million of cuts over the next three years, sparking fears for jobs and front line services.

The trust already struggles to break even and is known for its significant level of historic debt.

Sarah Cox, member of campaign group Brent Fightback, said: “It is really worrying. The health needs of this area are great.

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“They run things down and then say they are not fit for purpose.”

To help ease its financial woes, NWLH is considering merging with Ealing Hospital NHS Trust.

A spokeswoman confirmed that the proportion spent on hospitals will reduce.

She said: “The North West London Hospitals and Ealing Hospital are considering a merger.

“Importantly the merger would bring together hospital teams and integrated community services for Brent, Harrow and Ealing.

“Although future funding for the hospital part of our services is likely to decline, the merged organisation would be in a strong position to work in the community with GPs and other groups to ensure patients receive the best available care.”

No decision has been made about the merger yet but a case will be presented to the trust board in November.