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Proposal to Build Six new Hospitals Met with Rage

While the government will approve the plan for six new private finance initiative hospitals today, the proposal has enraged those hit by cutbacks// in their budgets.

The announcement has signaled the government’s commitment to continue the largest hospital building programme in the history of the NHS but has infuriated public health specialists and training hospitals, which were to cut their budgets to hold down NHS deficits.

Under the plans, , Bart’s and the London will lose £3.7 million, Guy’s and St Thomas’ will lose £4.7 million, the Royal Free £2.1 million and St George’s £2.2 million.

The money is expected to come from budgets set aside for education and training for this year, which is already half over. One hospital manager said yesterday “Lord knows how we are going to make these kinds of cuts when the money is already committed.”

So far the impression that is given was that the hospitals would not take the cuts lying down.

The Health Service Journal has also reported that public health spending has been targeted. The department is planning to set aside a £350 million 'contingency fund' to help to bring the NHS back into financial balance.

This will be sourced from money devolved to strategic health authorities (SHAs) this year from central funds. The funds were devoted to medical education and training, performance-related pay for GPs, public health, clinical excellence awards, and services like walk-in centres, out-of-hours services, and NHS Direct.

Many public health specialists are furious. Professor Rod Griffiths, the president of the Faculty of Public Health said, “I’m very disappointed that something as important as this has been so clumsily managed.

“The overspends have not been caused by community medicine. It is poor commissioning and poor management of acute services.”

In this financial year the department is projecting a gross deficit for the NHS of £883 m
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