MP calls for investigation into health service finances

PUBLISHED: 17:19 05 October 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010

A MAJOR investigation into health service finances has been called for by a concerned MP. North East Herts MP Oliver Heald has written to the most senior watchdog of government spending, Sir John Bourn, comptroller and auditor general, after massive cuts

A MAJOR investigation into health service finances has been called for by a concerned MP.

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald has written to the most senior watchdog of government spending, Sir John Bourn, comptroller and auditor general, after massive cuts in funding for the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust has triggered hundreds of redundancies.

Mr Heald said: "Over recent years the Trust has had non-recurrent payments of about £10m per annum.

"This has enabled the local hospitals to continue.

"Now we are told no further support is needed and local hospitals have to save over £60m as a matter of urgency.

"This will involve about 1,000 job cuts and a major loss of service as wards are closed.

"This suggests to me financial management by the Strategic Health Authority and senior NHS managers has not been adequate.

"I blame strategic and regional level for the crisis which is threatening local patient care."

He added: "Over recent weeks I have had complaints from the local branch of the College of General Practitioners, nurses, doctors and users of mental health services about the various cutbacks.

"The news is that the local hospital is missing many of its targets and now further cutbacks will follow.

"What is happening is clearly unsatisfactory and I'm concerned about local people.

"I think it is time we got to the truth about the funding of the local health service.

"I think the truth is that all sorts of money is being wasted.

"There is a constant change in structure, which costs money, when what we really need is to focus on the service.

"I have appealed to ministers and I have written endless letters but they are hopelessly complacent."

"The Government like to hide the truth in a mass of structural changes and rhetoric."

A spokesman for the East of England Strategic Health Authority said: "Each Trust gets a budget and it's their responsibility to manage it.


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