Today the BBC covered the financial performance of the NHS. The overall deficit is around £500 million. The Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, tries to minimise this figure by making statements like: “The NHS is now stabilising this financial problem while continuing to improve services for patients.” Unfortunately, the current Labour Government is seriously mis-managing the NHS and it is hurting our Borough.
Last night the Ealing councillors on the Health and Social Care Standing Panel had a briefing from Ealing Primary Care Trust (PCT), the people who fund all our GPs, dentists and pharmacies. Both the chairman and chief executive were there. Robert Creighton, the Chief Executive, covered the financial aspects of the talk. This year they were hoping to make £5 million available for new community care initiatives. As a result of the current financial crisis in the NHS Ealing PCT’s entire budget was top sliced by 3% and instead of having £5 million to spend on new activities they were looking at taking £6 million out of their current spending plans.
Robert gave the impression of knowing his stuff and in the last year the PCT performed well financially turning in a small surplus of £2.1 million (the equivalent of 0.5% of their £441 million annual spending).
So although our PCT is well run we will suffer this year from the national crisis.