Socialist Worker

NHS hospitals face a financial crisis

Issue No. 1943

Hospitals are closing wards, cutting bed numbers and laying off staff as a financial crisis begins to bite.

Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital hit the headlines last week when it emerged that it has been closing a fifth of its beds at a time in a bid to claw back a £1.7 million deficit.

The NHS as a whole is forecast to be at least £341 million in the red at the end of this month, and the figure could rise to £554 million, hospital bosses have warned.

Money has drained out of the NHS as the government has forced hospitals to hand over huge sums to the private sector to carry out routine operations and procedures.

A lack of resources for staffing costs and the new “payment by results” system are also wreaking havoc. Hospitals affected include:

  • South Tees Hospitals Trust, where staff could face redundancies because of a £25 million debt.
  • Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust, which is axing 200 jobs to cut £1.6 million from a forecast £7 million debt.
  • Southampton University Hospital, which has made 100 redundancies, shut two units and cut 120 beds to save up to £15 million.
  • Hammersmith Hospital, which is £9 million in the red. It has slashed 100 beds and is cutting 13 operating theatre sessions a week.
  • North West London Hospital Trust, which has closed 20 beds because of a £10million deficit.
  • Bradford Teaching Hospitals Trust, which is to lose another 230 jobs. It faces an £11 million deficit.

Mark New, a member of Unison’s health service group executive and joint branch secretary of Dudley Group of Hospitals branch in the West Midlands, said, “Labour has made claims about putting extra billions into the health service and people took that in good faith.

“But now people wonder if the money is going to the right areas — or whether it’s all going to the private sector.”


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News
Sat 19 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1943
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