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Health Minister Economical with the Truth?

March 22, 2004 12:00 AM

Commenting on last week's Sutton Comet report that the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is facing a £8.5 million overspend in 2004/5, Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake said,

"Just two months ago when I pressed Dr John Reid, the Health Secretary, on the Trust's current financial position, he painted a rosy picture going as far as to say "it (the Trust) is expected to break even by the year end to achieve financial balance."

"His remarks now look at best very ill-informed and at worst positively disingenuous. The Trust cannot have gone from predicting a break-even financial position by the end of March 2004 to projecting a £8.5 million overspend by March 2005 - all within the space of a few months."

Tom Brake has written to Dr Reid asking him to clarify who provided him with information about the Trust's finances and whether he was informed about the Trust's projected 2004/5 overspend.

Tom Brake said, "There is no point the Minister putting a positive spin on this year's finances when the Trust faces a monumental financial crisis next year."

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