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Health Services Face £30m Shortfall

January 17, 2005 9:00 AM

Health services in Cambridge could be cut, following revelations that the regional Health Authority is one of many across the country facing a financial black hole. The regional deficit could amount to £30m, according to a recent survey by the Health Service Journal.

The news is a further blow to Addenbrooke's Hospital, which last year was forced to remove staff from cleaning duties to help meet Government targets. Cleaning has now been increased in order to tackle MRSA outbreaks, but the HSJ's findings suggest cuts may have to be made to balance the books.

David Howarth, Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson for Cambridge commented: "The government's obsession with targets means that money is being spent doing what government ministers want rather than what patients need. The result is a cash crisis which will hit many Cambridge people in need of treatment.

The survey paints a bleak picture of NHS funding under New Labour: Nationally, Health Trusts are facing a shortfall of £500m, making the average Trust £18m in debt. Half of all Trusts expect to be in debt when the financial year ends at the end of March.

The Lib Dems would change the way the NHS is funded to a wholly earmarked health tax, using the existing National Insurance system. This will guarantee the NHS gets the money it needs, without it being held up in Whitehall - and the public will know that every penny paid for the NHS, goes to the NHS.

Key points of Liberal Democrat Health Policy:

  • Free doctors and nurses from Whitehall bureaucracy
  • Earmark an NHS contribution out of current taxation
  • Tackle the root causes of ill health, with more preventative medicine and education on health issues
  • Andrew Dickson and David Howarth outside Addenbrooke's Hospital

    Andrew Dickson (PPC for Cambridgeshire South) and David Howarth want a simpler, more transparent funding system for hospitals like Addenbrooke's

    Free personal care for the elderly, implementing the recommendations of the independent Royal Commission on long term care for all, as we have done in Scotland.