Text Only Version Last Update: Press Releases (22 May 2006)
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Health trusts short-changed - claim
Bury Free Press, 28 December 2005
Shocking new figures reveal Suffolk's Primary Care Trusts have been underfunded by a staggering 397 million over five years, it is claimed.
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Worst hit is the Suffolk West PCT, which is set to suffer a 236.8 million shortfall between 2003 and 2008, while the Central Suffolk PCT has been underfunded by 96.4 million.
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"We have been short-changed and it is simply unacceptable," said MP David Ruffley. "The Government doesn't have the faintest idea about the health pressures in our county."
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But while the Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket MP described the funding shortfall as a 'bad situation', he said it had been made 'incomparably' worse by bad financial management.
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Mr Ruffley also called for the Strategic Health Authority to be scrapped, saying it should have prevented the PCTs from spiralling into massive debt.
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"The SHA should have the dignity to fall on its sword and put the money into front-line services," said Mr Ruffley.
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Figures showing the shortfall in funding in Suffolk have have been compiled by Alan Wilcox, from Needham Market. He requested funding levels for all PCTs in England from the Department of Health under the Freedom of Information Act.
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From the figures for the financial years 2003/04 to 2007/08, he has calculated that every Suffolk PCT, with the exception of Waveney, is suffering a huge shortfall when compared to the national average.
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In this year alone he says the Suffolk West PCT will suffer a 47.4 million shortfall, while Central Suffolk has been underfunded by 19.4 million.
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"This is going to cause lasting damage to Suffolk and the people are going to suffer for it," said Mr Wilcox.
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A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "The PCTs in Suffolk receive less funding per person than the national average because their average level of need is lower."
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But she said Mr Wilcox's way of calculating a shortfall and the 397 million he had arrived at were 'totally incorrect'.
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"At the end of 2007/08, all the PCTs will be within 2.3 per cent of their target share of resources," she added.
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