Hospital technically bankrupt’

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital trust, which faces a predicted deficit of £29.9million by March next year, is technically bankrupt, according to The Guardian newspaper. The paper claimed this week that it was one of 13 hospital trusts facing an irrecoverable defi

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital trust, which faces a predicted deficit of £29.9million by March next year, is technically bankrupt, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The paper claimed this week that it was one of 13 hospital trusts facing an irrecoverable deficit. The 103 hospital trusts are expected to be in deficit by £1.6billion between them.

The newspaper blames accounting and budgeting rules introduced in 2001.

These heavily penalise overspending trusts by forcing them to repay overspends at the same time as cutting their income by an equivalent amount. The penalty therefore amounts to three times the original overspend and is almost impossible to recover from.

So Hinchingbrooke's small deficit last year has spiralled to more than 50 per cent of its NHS income.

But the East of England Strategic Health Authority says the hospital is not a lost cause. "If it were, we wouldn't be going through this review to secure its future for the next 20 years," said a spokesman. "Our aim is to look at what can happen there to retain as many services as possible that are clinically and financially viable."

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In a recent exclusive interview with The Hunts Post, the SHA's director of commissioning, Dr Paul Watson, insisted the authority would not be influenced in its review by the size of the debt. It would be dealt with separately, he promised.

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