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NHS PCTs up to GBP 800m in debt

NHS trusts running up debts of approximately GBP 800m in an attempt to balance their books, which will incur interest payments of almost GBP 200m says a Lib Dem report

According to data gathered by the Liberal Democratic party in the UK, NHS trusts have run up debts of approximately GBP 800m in an attempt to balance their books, which will incur interest payments of almost GBP 200m.

According to the report, over 25 per cent of four hospital trusts is reliant on loans, with repayment and interest costs likely to have a serious impact on staff and services.

In a Parliamentary answer, Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Greg Mulholland revealed that 55 hospital trusts have taken out loans worth GBP 778m, with interest set to cost GBP 38m in 2007 and GBP 188m over the 25-year life of the debts.

The loans are paid by the Department of Health to individual hospitals. The Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust has the biggest loan at GBP 56m over 25 years, followed by North Bristol Trust at GBP 52m over 20 years.

Mullholland said: "This completely undermines government claims that the NHS is back in the black. In truth, we are seeing a credit culture in our health service. A group of trusts are effectively being bankrolled by huge loans. The Government promised more openness with NHS finances - yet once again they are trying to fiddle the figures to make it look like the NHS is on sound financial footing when it clearly is not."

The Department of Health announced last month that the NHS is set for a GBP 1.8bn surplus after running up a GBP 547m deficit in 2005/06.

9th December 2007

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