King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s debt has been written off by the government as it scrambles to protect frontline services during the pandemic.
King’s debt had reached record levels – more than half a billion overall with an annual deficit of anywhere between £170-180 million each year. The trust had been placed in financial special measures as a result.
Dulwich and West Norwood MP Helen Hayes has long campaigned for the debt to be wiped and more funding channelled into the NHS. A decade ago, King’s College Hospital had a balanced budget and achieved all its main targets.
“After five years of campaigning hard to ensure that King’s is put on a firm financial footing, I am pleased that the Tory government has finally listened to sense and agreed to write off this huge historic debt of more than half a billion pounds,” Hayes said.
“I pay tribute to the extraordinary commitment, skill and hard work of the King’s team during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thank them for all that they are doing on behalf of all my constituents at this very difficult time.”
“No hospital trust could ever have paid off such a huge debt. But now we must see a significant increase in the annual budget for the trust so that we can put behind us the last ten years of financial problems at King’s and staff at the hospital can focus on their job – putting patients first and delivering the excellent care the hospital is rightly renowned for.”
The decision to clear thirteen billion of historic NHS debt came last week in an announcement from health minister Matt Hancock, who said: “As we tackle this crisis, nobody in our health service should be distracted by their hospital’s past finances.
“Today’s £13.4 billion debt write off will wipe the slate clean and allow NHS hospitals to plan for the future and invest in vital services.
“I remain committed to providing the NHS with whatever it needs to tackle coronavirus, and the changes to the funding model will give the NHS immediate financial certainty to plan and deliver their emergency response.”