THE INDEPENDENT (Morris. N 05/05/2015 P.4) reports that two-thirds of English NHS Trusts are expected to fall into the red this year, raising fears that hospital managers could be forced to cut services, lay off staff and close wards.
A private analysis by NHS Providers, which represents foundation trusts, found that 64 per cent of 98 trusts would make a projected loss in 2015-16 of £759million.
Their forecast joint deficit is three times more than they recorded last year and is the equivalent of £1.86bn across all 240 English trusts.
Those heading for the biggest losses include Lancashire Teaching Hospitals (projected £52.1m), Mid Essex Hospital Services (£45m) and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals (£43.8m).
The survey did not cover Scotland or Wales, where health is a devolved issue.
The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, will claim the survey is fresh proof the NHS is in “grave danger” under David Cameron.
“Today we discover the financial bombshell he has kept hidden away from everyone until now,” Mr Miliband will say. “two-thirds of hospitals face having to make swingeing cuts, not, at some point in the future, but this year because of a cash crisis made in Downing Street.“That will mean staff cut, beds lost and services closed. And it is why we need Labour’s better plan for the NHS – a fully funded plan to get more resources into the NHS and start turning things around, a real plan with real money for real action right now”
The King’s Fund warned last week that the health service faced its worst funding problems in its recent history. The think tank said it appeared to have overspent its budget by more than £800m in 2014-15 despite receiving emergency Treasury funds. It also found that waiting times at A&E departments were at their longest since 2003.
Mr Cameron declared last week that the health service was “my life’s work” and said: “I profoundly believe that the NHS grows with the conservatives.”
The Conservatives have pledged to find the extra £8bn which Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS England, said hospitals would need by 2020 to cope with the increasing pressures on them.
The television chef Delia Smith yesterday endorsed the Labour party because of its stance on health. “What I believe profoundly, is the party that campaigned for [the NHS] and created it will be the best one to nurture and sustain it for the future,” she said. “We are all fully aware of the strain it’s under, and we each have a duty to do all we can to preserve this most precious asset that makes such a vital contribution to human well-being.