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Trust's £1.2 million deficit is exposed - 'Don't cut care' says MP

January 31, 2012 2:52 PM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has called for NHS bosses to cut costs and not care in a drive to deal with their recently uncovered £1.2 million deficit from the first half of 2011-12 financial year.

In the minutes of a University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust board meeting, Tim Bennett the trust's Director of Finance laid out the current financial position of the hospital: "The financial performance in September was worse than planned by £201k, with a deficit of £7k incurred compared to a planned surplus of £194k. The deficit for the year to date is £1,153k which is £799k worse than planned at this stage."

The under pressure trust is currently facing four separate reviews, the latest conducted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which will look at emergency care at the trust following an unsatisfactory spot check on December 21st at the A&E department in Lancaster. The latest investigation into emergency care follows reviews into paediatrics, outpatients and corporate governance which have been launched in recent months by the CQC and foundation trust regulator Monitor.

The investigation is expected to last for around 14 weeks and will look at emergency care pathways at all hospitals across the trust.

In recent weeks Tim has met with the CQC, Monitor and ministers at the Department of Health regularly to discuss the issues at the trust.

Commenting, Tim said: "My warning to trust bosses is this: do not cut costs by cutting care. Savings in management costs must be a priority, as must making savings by sharing administrative costs with other NHS trusts. I am keen to make representations to the government to find the funds to help them too. My concern is that the trust might think that they have to meet financial targets and that patient care could suffer as a result. Cutting corners is exactly what happened at Mid-Staffordshire and I don't want it to happen here."