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NHS overspend worse than feared

11th October 2006

15082006_financeforecast1.jpgThe health service overspent by more than half a billion pounds last year, but health secretary Patricia Hewitt expects the NHS to come in under budget this year.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt revealed the NHS finished £547m in debt at the end of the 2005/6 financial year – more than the expected £512m reported in June. The government had expected £200 million.

In a written statement to MPs, Ms Hewitt said figures so far indicated there would be a small surplus this year, following a range of measures to rein in trusts’ spending. The additional debt has been blamed on a small number of trusts, with a third down to a single trust: the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust increased from a £1m surplus to an £11m deficit.

While critics have accused the government have mismanagement of the NHS, others believe a huge injection of cash is needed. While the Conservatives used the opportunity to launch their new plan for the NHS, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Steve Webb, condemned the government for further evidence that ministers didn’t have health funding under control.

 

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