Government unprepared for PCT debt crisis

December 23, 2005 5:00 PM

David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, has released new information which shows that the Government is unprepared for Primary Care Trusts being unable to pay their debts to a social services authority.

David questioned the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on the subject of PCT debts in the wake of the financial crisis besetting Cambridge City Primary care Trust.

Commenting, David said:

"The situation arose last year that the PCT was unable to pay its debts to Cambridgeshire County Council under Section 31 on time and so treated the Council, in effect, as a free bank.

"The PCT is now in a real financial crisis and so now owes £6 million in late invoices to the County Council. It is shocking that the Government has not issued any advice to local authorities on how to deal with this."

David also questioned the Department of Health on their plans for possible PCT debts. The Department is not planning to offer any additional financial support to PCTs struggling to meet their debts, promising only to monitor the payment performance of NHS bodies failing to meet the Better Payment Practice Code.

Cllr Julian Huppert, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the County Council added:

"Cambridgeshire County Council is performing very badly at the moment with regard to Social Service s - it was recently rated as '1-star', with only three other Councils in the country being worse. Debts from the PCT will just make the Council provide even worse services."

What would you like to do next?