Government accused of 'losing grip on NHS' as 58 failing trusts now have £241m debt
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Wednesday 18 June 2014
More than one in three NHS trusts in England have plunged into the red and and now have combined deficits of £241m, according to a new survey.
Labour claimed the Government had “lost its grip” on NHS finances as the latest official figures showed that 58 trusts were in deficit in January – up from 16 in 2010. In all regions of England, NHS finances worsened in the 2013-14 financial year which ended in March. Trusts in the east of England had run up deficits of £97.4m between them by January; in the East Midlands the figure was £92.3m and in London £85.2m.
Trusts with foundation status had a combined surplus of £133m but that still left an overall deficit of £108m with two months of the 2013-14 financial year still to run – compared to a surplus of £592m in the previous financial year. This is the first overall deficit since the 2010 election.
The figures, compiled by Labour, were based on statistics from the House of Commons Library, the NHS regulator Monitor and the Trust Development Authority, which is responsible for NHS trusts.
Liz Kendall, the shadow Care Minister, said: “David Cameron promised that he would protect the NHS. Instead, his disastrous reorganisation has thrown the NHS into chaos. Patient care is going backwards as more people are forced to wait longer in A&E, cancelled operations are at their highest for a decade and waits for vital cancer tests and treatments are increasing too.”
A Conservative health spokesman said: “We understand some trusts are facing financial challenges this year but it is essential that trust CEOs have a tight financial grip as delivering high quality services and balancing the books must go hand in hand. We won’t be taking any lessons from Labour, as deficits in the NHS were a consistent feature of its administration – between 1997 and 2009 NHS trusts ran deficits in nine years.”
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