£500m NHS surplus result of 'excessive cuts'

The Government has confirmed that the NHS has a £500 million excess, but the BMA has warned that the DoH has ‘cut too far’.

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt staked her job on removing the large NHS deficit in 2006-7, but to balance the books has meant cuts in training and public health

The figures mask the fact that many PCTs will not break even in 2007. The reported surplus has been created by moving money around and some critics have said that taking the NHS out of the red will result in cuts to patient care.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA's consultants' committee, will say in a speech today (6 June 2007): 'The current cuts in services have been excessive. It is clear from the £500 million excess now available, that the Department of Health, under treasury zeal, has cut too far, been too aggressive. It takes weeks to cut; it takes years to rebuild trust.'

Dr Fielden will also warn in his speech to the annual consultants' conference that doctors have lost confidence in the Government and Gordon Brown needs to listen to concerns or he is in risk of destroying the NHS.

Ms Hewitt said: 'If we hadn't taken decisive action to deal with the overspending, the NHS deficit would have doubled again this year. Instead, the NHS has a fairer and more transparent financial system than ever before. The minority of over-spenders know they have to put their own house in order instead of expecting SHA trusts to bail them out.'

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