Norfolk NHS trusts have a deficit of £50m
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011
A 'snapshot' of the health of finances at Norfolk and Suffolk's NHS Trusts and commissioning groups has revealed they are staring at a deficit of almost £50m by the end of the year.
Trade union Unison, which conducted the survey, warned that the quality of service for patients is likely to suffer as hospitals and health trusts grapple to bring the finances under control.
Unison's report, taking figures from the latest trust board reports, shows that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, James Paget University Hospital at Gorleston and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn are all on the unwanted course of seeing their deficits increase by the end of the financial year.
The N&N's deficit has already increased from £5.4m to £9.5m. The James Paget's is likely to go up from £3.4m to £5m, while the Queen Elizabeth's is to increase from £7.3m to £13.3m.
The deficit at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services and was placed in special measures in February, is forecast to increase from £4.5m to £9.4m.
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Tracey Lambert, Unison eastern region head of health, said: 'Hospitals and mental health services are already struggling to cope – even before any major cash-driven cuts are imposed.'
A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which was placed in special measures in 2013 and removed from them earlier this year, said its £13.3m deficit had been agreed with health regulator Monitor and was subject to careful planning, so patients would not see an impact.
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Bosses at the James Paget, facing the first budget deficit in its history, pledged patient safety would remain the top priority as it outlines plans to deal with the financial gap.
Trust chief executive Christine Allen said: 'We are taking this situation extremely seriously. Trusts across the country are experiencing financial pressures and this trust is no exception. There is a shared determination to ensure we get back to a stronger financial footing as soon as possible.
'Our current financial outlook will have no bearing on the quality of care at our hospitals. Compassionate and safe patient care is, and will remain, our priority.'
Last month saw the resignation of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital's finance director. Julie Cave, director of resources, left the trust after six years of service. A spokeswoman for the hospital said: 'We are working hard to improve our position.'
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