St George's Healthcare NHS Trust AGM prompts concerns from patients
The rapid expansion of private patient care and mixed sex wards were two issues discussed at St George's Healthcare NHS Trust annual general meeting.
The meeting, which took place in St George's Hospital last night, saw about 80 people turn up to find out about the hospital's performance.
Chief executive Miles Scott spoke about plans for the future, with a new helicopter pad expected to be completed and hopes to expand A&E services next year.
The trust is also pumping resources into applying for foundation status, which chiefs say will allow them more flexibility.
But concerns were voiced after finance director Steven Bolam revealed the hospital made £4.3m from private patient care, a revenue stream which has massively increased over the past year.
Brian Coleman, chair of campaign group Keep Our NHS Public, said: "You show an increase of £4.3m, that is only part of the equation.
"What it doesn't show is what the costs are to providing services to those patients. What are the costs to the taxpayer [for] the staff and equipment to do that?
"I don't see it following through - we need to see it goes into investment and benefits to patients."
Mr Bolam said: "Private patients will generate more income for us and will improve quality for patients generally.
"We are doing it to improve the standards for NHS patients. It is very small, I would like it be bigger as patients would be better off."
Questions were also raised by Anna Tagliaferro over the complaint's process in the hospital, after feeling intimated by staff for using it.
Trust directors said plans are in place to allow patients to raise questions, while the hospital is displaying posters with the message "Don't take your troubles home."
Patients having to put up with mixed sex bays, as well as being sent to private hospitals and waiting times were other issues raised.
Hospital managers said mixed sex wards would continue but there should not be any mixed sex ward bays.
The hospital has met the Goverment's 18 week standard of the time taken between somoeone being referred for treatment and being seen at the hospital.
Doctors from the sickle cell and thalassaemia service gave presentations to show how much the provision had expanded, with visitors calling for the service to get it's own ward.
Visit stgeorges.nhs.uk for more information.