Chairman of cash-strapped NHS trust appeals for help from neighbouring counties (From The Northern Echo)
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Chairman of cash-strapped NHS trust appeals for help from neighbouring counties
THE chairman of the most cash-strapped NHS trust in the country has called for funds from neighbouring trusts be used to reduce the £19m deficit he is struggling to clear.
Kevin McAleese said while some trusts in the region were “at a loss how to spend their surpluses”, North Yorkshire and York had received £213 less funding per patient than the regional average.
Ahead of a meeting to announce a range of cuts to the county’s NHS services on Tuesday (January 22), he said: “If NHS North Yorkshire and York had enjoyed the funding of every other PCT area but the East Riding in 2012/13 it would not only not have a deficit at all, but have enjoyed a surplus of between £45m and £163m.”
He pointed towards the cost of the county having the highest proportion of residents aged over 85 and second highest proportion of over 65-year-olds in the region as one of the main reasons for the county’s deficit.
In his penultimate report before the trust is replaced by GP-led clinical commissioning groups, Mr McAleese said as MPs had failed to convince Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to increase funding for North Yorkshire, they should press for the £63m surplus other trusts had accrued to be used to wipe out the county’s black hole.
He said: “The only certainty, if the present funding formula remains, is that services will look very different in the future to their present shape, and there will be less of them despite the evident and growing needs of the population.”
Leaders of the county’s NHS watchdog, the scrutiny of health committee, said they welcomed Mr McAleese’s call and would join a “fight for a more equitable distribution of funding on the steps of Downing Street”.
However, the committee’s deputy leader, Councillor John Blackie, said he had been astonished by claims in Mr McAleese’s report that a four-week delay in referring plans to downgrade paediatric and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital by the committee could lead to a crisis at the Northallerton infirmary this spring.
Mr McAleese said: “It will be entirely regrettable if the well notified retirements of consultants from the paediatric unit in Northallerton on April 1 subsequently precipitate a crisis in the service which could have been avoided, had all parties concerned shared a common agenda and sought to act with the same eye on the timescales involved.”
Coun Blackie said while it had taken the committee four weeks to prepare a compelling case for a unique solution at the hospital, it had taken the trust nearly a year to prepare its case.
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