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NHS told to restrict spending

A report published by the Health Service Journal says that NHS organisations will have their spending restricted and funding cut

A report published by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) says that NHS organisations will have their spending restricted and funding cut.

During the next financial year, it is reported that NHS managers will be permitted to spend only £400m of their £1.7bn surplus. In addition, the 6.7 per cent increase in funding promised by the Treasury is now likely to be around 1.5 to 2 per cent.

The spending restrictions will impact on Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), potentially forcing them to cut any services that are not seen as a local priority. It is anticipated that non-clinical staff bills will have to be cut by 3 per cent.

Commenting on the report, Dr Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the BMA's Consultants Committee, said: "Doctors, managers and other staff across the NHS have worked extremely hard to create a surplus. Together with their patients, they will be concerned that it could now be clawed back to the Treasury, rather than being spent on further improvements to care.

"As funding for the NHS begins to fall behind increasing demand, it is vital that this money is made available. As the government takes steps to address the economic crisis, it must also ensure our NHS is protected financially," he said.

"Preventing wastage in other areas, such as poor value deals with the commercial sector, will become all the more important if this proposal comes into being."

The Treasury's pre-budget report is due in the next two weeks. The Department of Health's financial arrangements for next year should be clearer once this is published.

13th November 2008

From: Healthcare

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