Trust plan hit by PCT financial deficit

MARK NICHOLLS A multi-million pound debt run up by Norfolk Primary Care Trust has shattered a mental health authority's plan to break away from the NHS and seize greater control of its own affairs.

MARK NICHOLLS

A multi-million pound debt run up by Norfolk Primary Care Trust has shattered a mental health authority's plan to break away from the NHS and seize greater control of its own affairs.

Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust was due to hear on April 1 if it had achieved coveted foundation trust status, enabling it to take more influence over its own financial and business affairs.

But it has been unable to take the crucial step because Norfolk PCT, as one of the main trusts that would buy services from it, is considered too much of a financial liability.

Last night, mental health chiefs were said to be deeply disappointed by a setback they regard as not being of their own making.

Chief executive Pat Holman said she hoped the delay would be less than nine months, during which time the mental health trust would further strengthen its case for foundation status.

Most Read

But the EDP understands that if it had not been for Norfolk PCT's £47m deficit, the mental health trust would be in line for founda-tion status within days.

Ms Holman said: "It was felt there was a significant risk for us as a trust to operate in an environment where trusts - not just Norfolk PCT - have a significant deficit."

A spokesman for Norfolk PCT said: "We continue to work closely with them to support them with their ongoing application."