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MP asks for government help for hospital trust

January 13, 2014 5:51 PM
Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has asked the Government to step in and give support to the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT).
In advance of a meeting between the Department of Health and local MP's Tim has sent a letter to Health Minister Dan Poulter, asking him to look at local moderation of tariffs paid to the trust for medical procedures.
This would help the trust deal with its deficits and continue to improve patient care. Last September Tim secured £1,257,000 for the Trust to help cope with an expected upturn in winter patients.
In the letter Tim says:
"Dear Dan,
I am writing concerning the University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Trust which serves my constituency.
As you'll be aware, finances are strained for Trusts up and down the country, and UHMBT are facing particularly significant financial challenges.
At present, the Trust has a deficit of £25 million, and need Government help to shift at least £15 million of it.
Without providing a financial premium for healthcare services in geographically and population density challenged areas such as my constituency, it is very difficult to be able to provide fair and equitable access and outcomes for patients.
To this end, I am writing to ask if your department would seriously consider allowing UHMBT a 'local moderation of tariffs' which would help them to clear potentially as much as £10 million of their current debt.
A methodology for approving local modifications to the national tariff was commissioned by Monitor from Frontier Economics as part of the Health and Social Care Bill, so there is a mechanism for such a provision. Perhaps you could support this if an application were made by UHMBT via the regulator route?
The Trust and I would be more than happy for this local moderation of tariffs to by set with conditions, so that once UHMBT's finances are back on track, they can be reverted back onto the national tariffs.
I strongly believe that this temporary change would give the Trust some much needed breathing space, allowing them to make the necessary organisational restructures that will need to be in place if they are to cut their sizeable debt.
On behalf of the Trust and my constituents, I ask that you seriously take this request into consideration. I am meeting with you at the Department on the 15th January, and I would be more than happy to discuss this in more depth then.
Yours sincerely,
Tim Farron MP"
Tim said: "I've written to the Minister in advance of our meeting to ask him to look at this proposal. If the Department of Health agree, it could massively help the trust to clear its deficit. I will keep pushing the Government to give the help and support the trust needs, so it can deliver top quality healthcare to local people."