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Wednesday 21st August 2019

NHS debt doubles in a year

20th September 2012

New figures from the Audit Commission have revealed that the number of NHS trusts in debt in England has more than doubled in a year.

Pound Coins

Its latest report showed that 31 trusts posted a deficit, which is more than 10% of the hospital, mental health and community trusts in the NHS and up from 13 the previous year.

However, the NHS overall finished in surplus to the tune of £2bn, or about 2% of its budget, for 2011-12 and at a time that the NHS is battling to make savings of £20bn by 2015.

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at the King’s Fund, said it appeared the “squeeze” was tipping trusts over into deficit and he predicted it would be worse in the years ahead.

The Audit Commission report showed that the majority of the deficits were in London and the south-east with South London Healthcare the trust with the highest deficit, with a £65.1m deficit and now in administration.

Andy McKeon from the Audit Commission said: “While nationally the NHS appears to be managing well financially and preparing itself for the changes and challenges ahead, a number of PCTs and trusts are facing severe financial problems.

“The Department of Health and other relevant national authorities need to focus their attention on the minority of organisations whose financial position is deteriorating.”

The Department of Health said services were being maintained despite the financial pressures.

He said: “Waiting times have been kept low, infections have been reduced, there are more doctors, more diagnostic tests and more planned operations.”


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