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Shortfall in NHS ‘may get worse’
THE £19 million funding deficit facing the NHS in our region could easily deepen plunging NHS North Yorkshire and York in to its “worst nightmare”, according to the head of the trust.
The stark warning came from trust chief executive Christopher Long, who told yesterday’s board of governors meeting that the estimated £19 million shortfall for the coming year was a “best-case scenario” and that it could easily spiral into tens of millions of pounds if plans to claw back the cash were not successful.
Coun Jim Clarke, head of North Yorkshire County Council’s health scrutiny committee, told the board: “I’m rather concerned that the £19 million deficit may be optimistic and I believe we could see one of £30million or £40million to £50million. I am not being alarmist.”
Mr Long told him: “You said it was optimistic and I think you are right.”
He said: “The projected £19million deficit is of now and depends on all our plans coming to fruition. It depends on a mild winter and a dose of good luck.”
In the strongest warning yet from the PCT on the seriousness of the situation, he said: “The worst-case scenario is your worst nightmare and it doesn’t take much to knock things off course.”
Yesterday’s meeting at the Priory Street Centre in York came on the same day that health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced he was putting struggling South London Healthcare NHS Trust under the control of a special administrator, after it began losing £1million a week.
In April next year, North Yorkshire and York will hand over responsibility for spending the region’s £1.2 billion health budget to a new-GP led clinical commissioning groups, and Mr Long said it was “imperative we don’t drop the ball on the handover.”
The trust said one of the ways it is looking at clawing back the shortfall was a shift from hospital care to more community-based care, and it is warning of major changes in the way residents can expect to be treated.
Mr Long said foundation trusts such as York Hospital, should be providers of “community service and a little bit of hospital service, as opposed what they do now, which is providing a little bit of hospital service with a little bit of community care.”