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Black hole sees patients denied surgery

3rd March 2010

A study has found that patients in England are being denied surgery because of a £130m black hole in health budgets.

surgeonatwork

Analysis from the think tank Civitas suggest that more than a third of primary care trusts have deficits and these have led to cutbacks in operations and calls to close casualty departments.

It collated data from board reports of more than 100 PCTs, highlighting a multi-million pound overspend for the NHS this year, including one PCT with a £17.5m debt.

Civitas has described the position as concerning, particularly with the warning that NHS spending is likely to get tighter.

The Department of Health has told trusts that they cannot enter the new financial year – only a matter of weeks away – in debt and those health authorities that do not cut spending face the threat of repaying debt from next year’s budget or being brought under central control.

Head of health policy at Civitas, James Gubb said: “If financial control cannot be exercised in times of plenty, it does not bode well for times of famine.

“With billions to effectively be cut from the NHS we are looking at huge productivity improvements to maintain today's standards. Prudent organisations would be looking to set money aside to invest for such times.”

Patients are already being affected with some GPs being told they must gain approval for procedures such as hysterectomies while one hospital is looking at replacing an accident and emergency department with an urgent care centre open only 12 hours a day.

 

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