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Trusts move to bail out hospitals

8 December, 2008  

Innovative NHS proposals could see millions of pounds off debt wiped off balance sheets across the health service in the capital, it has emerged.

PCTs in London have agreed to pool resources and capital to produce a cash bail-out plan for debt-ridden hospitals.

NHS London described the decision as “ground breaking” and said the plan would see the “historic NHS debt across the capital wiped out”.

The capital’s 31 PCTs will discuss the idea and decide whether to implement it at board meetings running from December 8-19.

According to NHS London, figures show the capital’s health debt will reach £579 million by 2011 unless action is taken.

Under the book-balancing plan, PCTs will invest part of their money in a joint fund over the next two years to provide £275 million.

They will also relinquish a surplus NHS London funding pot of £304 million to make up the difference and clear the debts of ailing hospital trusts.

The move will provide “a debt-free sustainable health service able to deliver high quality care for all Londoners”, NHS London said.

Over the last few years the financial health of the NHS in London has improved significantly, and most organisations have returned to the black.

Five PCTs are currently in debt but four of those are due to complete their financial recovery programmes by 2010, according to NHS London.

Six hospital trusts are described as “financially challenged” with another five not expected to get out of the red before 2011.

Copyright Press Association 2008