Brake warns about knock-on-effects of hospital budget woes

January 22, 2004 12:00 AM

Addressing the Health Secretary John Reid, the Government's senior Health Minister in Health Questions yesterday, Mr Brake pressed the Government to come clean on how it would tackle the million pound deficits many Hospital Trusts, including the Epsom and St Helier Trust, are trying to plug after years of under-funding.

In his response, the Health Secretary stated that, for this year at least, the Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust deficit had been eliminated.

Mr Brake said, "There is immense pressure for NHS trusts to break even in this financial year. My fear is that a combination of creative accounting and panic measures have been introduced to 'clear' this deficit. We may only see the impact of these cuts on the number of beds, operations and waiting times in the months or years to come. There are no guarantees for next year."

Mr Brake went on to comment about the local NHS trust's decision to reduce the number of non clinical vacancies in order to help to eliminate the trust's deficit. Despite praising the Trust's ability to reduce costs by one million pounds by reducing non clinical vacancies, he stated that non clinical posts could also be of paramount importance in hospitals in order to ensure they run smoothly.

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