Sir John Stanley said today:
"Following my press statement of November 19th last year, I have now received a full reply from the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
"The Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has been rendered effectively insolvent by the terms of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract it entered into. It is being kept afloat financially up to the end of this financial year by its funding deficit being split three ways between the Department of Health, the Trust itself and NHS Kent and Medway. But this is only a temporary measure.
"The previous Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley, said in his letter to me of September 3rd that the assessment of whether Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust could pass the Government's 4 tests (to become eligible to access the financial support available) was likely to conclude last Autumn. The present Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, has now said that this won't be known until the end of this financial year when the present deficit funding arrangement finishes. In addition, the Secretary of State has provided no information as to what will happen if the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Trust fails to meet the Government's 4 tests. With only some 12 weeks to go before the end of the financial year, this is a profoundly unsatisfactory situation for the Trust's patients and staff alike.
"I shall be continuing to press the Secretary of State for Health for the earliest possible information on whether the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has passed the Government's 4 tests, and, if not, what will then happen to the Trust, its patients and its staff.
"I consider it imperative that the Government bails out the Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust financially and puts the Trust's finances on to a secure and stable long-term footing."