It would be a great comfort to those of us concerned with health services if he could share his arithmetic with us. His view, however, does not square with the position in individual purchasing authorities where shortfalls of pounds 20m-pounds 30m are currently being identified or in Trusts which are so well funded that they have to stop elective surgery completely.
In truth, as Mr Timmins must know, the level of the deficit is difficult to estimate to a high degree of accuracy. For years, however, the recurring indications have been that it is around five per cent - pounds 2bn on the pounds 40bn currently expended.
It is depressing and demoralising that the NHS, which overall delivers an outstandingly effective and economical service to the nation, should be prevented from realising its full potential for the benefit of the public by virtue of such a proportionally small deficit.
RONALD M POLLOCK
London, NW1Reuse content