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REVEALED: Two-thirds of hospitals face swingeing cuts this year as NHS trusts plunge into a crisis created by the Tories

Labour today reveals a leaked document which lays bare the full extent of the cash crisis facing hospitals across England – who now face having to make cuts to staff or beds, or even closing some services.

  • The document shows two thirds of trusts expect to be in deficit in the current financial year, 2015-16
  • The analysis of 98 trusts' financial forecasts shows a projected deficit this year of £759 million - three times higher than the comparable figure for 2014-15 – and the equivalent of £1.86 billion across all England's 240 trusts.
  • Hospitals now face having to make ‘recovery plans’ with measures like staff cuts and bed reductions – or even the closure of some services.
  • The NHS Trust Development Authority has already stated that the number of trusts in deficit in 2014-15 “calls into question the sustainability of a number of services provided by these organisations”. 

In the East Midlands hospitals are facing a cash crisis – Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust facing a deficit of £42,700,000 and Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are facing a deficit of -21,737,000 (full data attached).   

The scale of the Tory crisis gripping the NHS has also been underlined by new Freedom of Information responses showing hospitals themselves declaring a significant “operational problems” on more than 1,000 occasions last winter. 

Labour argues that the cash crisis facing hospitals is a direct result of Government decisions to: 

  • Waste £3 billion on a top-down re-organisation which harmed patient care and took desperately-needed resources away from the frontline.
  • Strip back community services like social care and GP services, which has seen hospitals almost overwhelmed with rising demand.
  • Cut nurse training, which has caused severe staff shortages and rising wasteful spending on agency staff. 

This has resulted in a growing crisis in A&E, with more than one million people waiting over four hours to be seen last year. Waiting lists for operations are now at a seven-year high, and one in four patients wait a week or more to see a GP. 

Only Labour has a real plan for real action with real money in the NHS right now – with a £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund that will improve care by providing 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs, as well as making key investments that will save money and take pressure off frontline services in the future. 

This includes a plan to get significant resources into the NHS immediately this year by including a mansion tax on properties over £2m, action on tax avoidance and a tobacco levy in our first Budget. 

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, said:  

“Britain faces a clear choice on Thursday: between a Labour government that will put working people first – or a Tory government that will only ever work for the privileged few. 

“And there is no bigger choice at this election for everyone in our country than the future facing our National Health Service. 

“Right now, our NHS is in grave danger because David Cameron has broken his promises on the NHS. He’s closed hospitals he said he would keep open, he’s allowed waiting times to rise when he said he would keep them low, and he’s wasted £3 billion on a top-down re-organisation which drives forward privatisation that he insisted before the last election would never happen. 

“Now he’s at it again, promising to protect the NHS with just a flimsy IOU. And today we discover the financial bombshell that he has kept hidden from everyone until now. Two thirds of hospitals face having to make swingeing cuts, not some point in the future, but this year because of a cash crisis made in Downing Street. 

“That will mean staff cut, beds lost and services closed. And it is why we need Labour’s better plan for the NHS: a fully funded plan to get more resources into the NHS and start turning things around; a real plan with real money for real action right now. 

“It is a plan that is founded on putting the right values back at the heart of our NHS: care, compassion and co-operation, not privatisation, fragmentation and competition; an NHS with people at its heart; an NHS that inspires the country; an NHS that will once again lead the world. 

“This is what we’re fighting for. This is what’s on the ballot paper in less than 48 hours’ time. Let’s go out there and build a better future together.” 

Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: 

"David Cameron promised to cut the deficit, not the NHS. But we now know that, in reality, he has created a large deficit in the NHS. The financial crisis in the NHS is biting this year, with patients seeing treatments rationed, services closed and hospitals without enough staff. 

“Labour's first Budget will bring in a mansion tax to get the funds flowing into the NHS this year and next. The Tories’ extreme spending plans that will put the NHS at risk. 

"Hospitals were forced to spend £1 billion on agency staff last year because of the shortage of nurses under David Cameron. Only Labour's plan to recruit an extra 20,000 nurses - paid for with £2.5 billion extra a year - will allow hospitals to break the hold of the staffing agencies and get their finances into better shape.”

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