“No impact” on patient care despite £10m project fail, says King’s Mill Trust

Peter Herring, CEO of the Sherwood Hospitals Trust.
Peter Herring, CEO of the Sherwood Hospitals Trust.

A scrapped merger between King’s Mill Hospital and a Nottingham-based NHS trust has had no impact on patient care despite “astonishing” costs of £10m, Sherwood Hospital Trust bosses have claimed.

A breakdown of spending by the Trust revealed £6.6m was spent on professional advice fees alone- before plans to merge with the Nottingham University Hospitals Trust were abandoned in October.

The information, obtained in a Freedom of Information request by medical publication BMA News, also found the Trust spent £500,000 in legal fees.

But Peter Herring, Sherwood Forest Hospitals chief executive, has insisted the Trust’s financial position has not been “adversely affected” as a result of the £10m loss, which has had “no impact” on patient care.

He said work to align the two Trusts had still proved “valuable” in preparing to deliver a county-wide “sustainability and transformation” programme.

He added: “Over the past year, Sherwood Forest Hospitals’ leadership and staff, working with NHS Improvement and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, have put in place arrangements to significantly strengthen the organisation and its activities.

“Funding for clinical support as part of the partnership discussions helped us to sustain improvements already made as part of our quality improvement programme.

“We remain committed to a strategic partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals, which will see closer working with colleagues where this makes clinical sense and improves patient care.”

The Trust, which runs Kings Mill Hospital and Mansfield Community Hospital, recently came out of special measures after a CQC inspection in 2015 revealed it had failed to improve in all but one of 18 targets set in 2013.

A spokesman for NHS improvement said the project, though not a success, had contributed to this “significant turnaround in performance” by the Sherwood Hospitals Trust.

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero said she would be “asking questions” about why so much cash had gone to waste.

She said: “This is an astonishing amount of money to be spent on a project that has essentially not gone to plan. It is worrying to see the NHS spending such large sums on consultants and lawyers when it is really struggling financially at the moment.

“This money would have been far better spent treating patients and or employing more doctors and nurses.”

The £10m loss was also slammed by Mansfield residents on social media.

Posting on the Chad’s Facebook page, Nick Martin said: “How can it possibly have cost that much for advice? This is why the NHS are skint.”

Sallyann Evans branded the scrapped merger “a waste of money” ahd James Hopkinson said the money could have been put “to much better use”.