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Government has 'totally lost control of NHS finances'

By Elizabeth Barrett

Published 05/01/2016

Ben Gummer argued the Government was investing in the NHS
Ben Gummer argued the Government was investing in the NHS

The Government has "totally lost control of NHS finances", Labour has claimed after a health minister said three quarters of trusts were reporting a deficit for the conclusion of the first half of this financial year.

But parliamentary under secretary of state for care quality Ben Gummer later insisted ministers were "confident we'll be able to get hospital trusts into balance next year".

He told MPs during Commons health questions: "Three quarters of trusts are reporting a deficit for the conclusion of the first half of this financial year."

Labour's Anna Turley (Redcar) spoke about the situation in her own constituency.

She said: "John Appleby the chief economist from the independent think-tank The King's Fund has said recently that although the Government claims it will get an increase in funding in the NHS, it has in effect already spent the money, because of the scale of the hospital deficits.

"In my own area of South Tees the deficit for 2014/15 is nearly £17 million. Will the minister accept that the Government has totally lost control of NHS finances?"

Mr Gummer argued the Government was investing in the NHS, unlike the Opposition.

He replied: "The first point to make is that this Government has provided the money for the NHS that it itself has asked for, money that the Opposition refused to say it would pledge at the last election.

"The second is that Jim Mackey, the new chief executive of NHS Improvement, one of the best chief executives in the NHS, has said that he will help to get hospital trusts in control next year and with the transformation fund announced by my right honourable friend, we're confident we'll be able to get hospital trusts into balance next year."

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