Sir George grills Health Secretary on local NHS finances
12 Jul 2005
Sir George raised with the Health Secretary the plans that local trusts are drawing up to balance the books
"The Secretary of State does not seem to realise that the Government's rhetoric about increased resource ces for the NHS ring hollow in Hampshire, as plans are drawn up to balance the books which hit patient services."

see exchange below

Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): What the overall financial status of NHS hospital trusts in 2003–04 was; and if she will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Health (Ms Patricia Hewitt): The Government have delivered record increases in investment for the NHS—funding that has been used to deliver substantial improvements across a range of services. In 2003–04, the NHS recorded a small surplus of £73 million. In the same year, 204 NHS trusts were in financial balance or had a surplus and 65 trusts posted a deficit.

Sir George Young: The Secretary of State will know that many NHS trusts and primary care trusts, particularly those that do badly out of the funding formula, have been able to reach NHS targets and deliver improved levels of care only by running up substantial financial deficits. Will the right hon. Lady give the House an absolute assurance that the new financial imperatives under which the trusts are now working will not result in unacceptable levels of patient safety?

Ms Hewitt: I know that the right hon. Gentleman will welcome the fact that his primary care trust has had an increase in its allocation from £1.4 billion in 2002–03 to £2.3 billion in 2007–08. There are enormous and unprecedented amounts of money going into the NHS. The reforms that we are making to the system, including money following the patient as patients are enabled to exercise greater choice and control over their health care, will improve patient safety and care rather than damage it.

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