Tory ideologues wielding their scalpels on the NHS have claimed their first sacrifice. South London Healthcare NHS Trust is being carted off from intensive care to the mortuary.
Unite warned today that thousands of jobs could be lost as the latest casualty of the government's drive for privatisation was prepared for dissection.
Since it was formed in 2009 the trust, which covers hospitals in Bromley, Sidcup and Woolwich's, has chalked up debts of £207 million.
Unite said that a large slice of the debt had been caused by PFI contracts it branded as "pernicious and sucking the lifeblood out of frontline services."
Now it has become the first organisation to face the NHS "failure regime" set up as a burial service by then health secretary Andrew Lansley.
Proposals are to merge Woolwich's Queen Elizabeth hospital with Lewisham Healthcare Trust, to turn Sidcup's Queen Mary hospital into a "health campus" owned by Oxleas Foundation Trust and merge Bromley's university hospital with King's College Hospital Foundation Trust.
There will now be a 30-day consultation into the proposals before a final report is made to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who will then have until early February to make a decision on the trust's future.
Earlier this week the public accounts committee said it appeared the Department of Health was "inventing rules and processes on the hoof" when dealing with trusts in financial trouble.
Foreign Minister Alistair Burt's admission that the Cameron government has "supported" a survey of attitudes to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas amounts to a tacit admission of British involvement.