Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Region's NHS Cash Crisis to Worsen

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Region's NHS Cash Crisis to Worsen

Article excerpt

A cash crisis in the North East NHS is set to worsen amid revelations the region's deficit has increased tenfold in the past year alone.

As the Government attempted to play down news that health chiefs in the North East now faced debts of up to pounds 50m, spending watchdogs and union leaders warned things could get worse ( and patients could be affected.

According to provisional figures published by the Department of Health there are now nine health trusts in the North East facing combined deficits of pounds 49.6m in 2005/06, compared to one last year. And though the deficit is less than 1% of the pounds 6bn spent on health care in the North East each year, it compares to a reported deficit of just pounds 4.2m for 2004/05.

The National Audit Office predicted this year's unaudited figured could increase even further, after revealing the 2004/05 deficit almost doubled when finalised.

Unison North head of health Liz Twist warned there was "no room for complacency" in the region and admitted trusts faced "turbulent waters" in the future with increased private sector involvement and treating patients within 18 weeks of seeing their GP. …

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