Haringey's �10m payout of London hospitals
Robyn Rosen HARINGEY hospitals are planning to spend more than �10million paying off the debts of other failing London trusts. Critics claim Haringey should concentrate on its own services and that the bailout will lead to a disincentive for Haringey Tea
HARINGEY hospitals are planning to spend more than �10million paying off the debts of other failing London trusts.
Critics claim Haringey should concentrate on its own services and that the bailout will lead to a disincentive for Haringey Teaching Primary Care Trust to balance its own books.
NHS figures show that debt across London in 2011 will reach �579million unless action is taken.
Haringey is among 25 trusts in London to have produced a surplus at the end of last financial year. But the six remaining trusts, including Enfield and Hillingdon, have accumulated a deficit of almost �120million.
The trusts have provisionally agreed to a proposal to clear the NHS debts by forgoing the return of a �304million top-slice - money held aside by NHS London - and providing a non-returnable levy of 1.3 per cent funding.
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If Haringey agrees to the proposal, it will provide more than �10million over two years to pay off the debt and forgo the return of the �10million existing top-slice.
Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone said: "Once again, we see that the trusts which have managed to balance their budgets in difficult times are being asked to bail out other areas where, for whatever reason, costs have not been kept under control.
"Haringey has many pressing health needs. Its planned budget was thought necessary to meet these needs. It should be protected for the patients of Haringey."
A Haringey Lib Dem spokesman said: "Haringey have had to feel the pinch because they have been reining in their spending to make sure they make it.
"If they wanted to be reckless and spend �40million like Hillingdon then perhaps they could have given more services to more people.
"It's not giving any incentive to PCTs to balance their books. Why would Haringey bother if they think they will get bailed out?"
But Sue Secher, of the Better Local Health Campaign, said that, despite an increase in funding for NHS Haringey, it had made cuts in various areas including foot health and baby weighing.
"Haringey is a borough with a huge amount of deprivation with terrible social and health inequalities," she said.
"The suggestion that Haringey can afford to give up a single penny of its money is a travesty of justice."
A Haringey TPCT spokeswoman said: "The surplus we have achieved reflects good use of our resources and excellent quality of financial management.
"This demonstrates that our whole team has worked hard to ensure that taxpayers' money is well spent on NHS services.
"Every PCT has agreed that the current proposals are not about taking funding from one PCT to give to another - but instead about looking beyond borough boundaries to improve health and healthcare throughout London as a whole.