Page last updated at 17:14 GMT, Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Health minister replies to a PNQ on the South London NHS Trust

On 8 January 2013, Health Minister Earl Howe responded to a private notice question on the South London Healthcare NHS Trust.

The answer repeated the government's response earlier that day to an urgent question tabled in the Commons by Labour MP Dame Joan Ruddock.

The trust was put into administration in July 2012 and auditors have recommended it should be dissolved, and services broken up.

But Dame Joan, MP for Lewisham Deptford, said the administrator's report was being used to force through a "major reconfiguration of services via the back door".

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he understood the concerns but needed more time to consider his response to the report.

He told MPs: "The challenges facing South London NHS Trust are complex and long-standing and to fail to address them is to penalise other parts of the NHS from whom resources must be taken to finance the biggest deficit anywhere in the NHS."

South London Healthcare Trust is the first NHS trust to be put into administration, with debts predicted to reach £240 million by 2014.

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