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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Call for hospital debt write-off
Bedford Hospital
Alistair Burt MP is calling for Bedford Hospital's debt to be dropped.
A hospital's 11m of debt should be written off by the NHS after a nearby health trust was told it did not have to repay 22m, an MP has claimed.

Alistair Burt, MP for North East Beds, is calling for Bedford Hospital NHS Trust's debt to be dropped.

He made the call after revealing that North and East Herts NHS Trust has been told it does not have to repay its historic debt to the government.

NHS in the East said the Herts trust was not getting special treatment.

Mr Burt has been told by the North and East Hertfordshire trust that due to accountancy changes and the trust's success in cutting costs "no further repayment was required to the Treasury".

'Financial balance'

Mr Burt said: "I was very surprised to learn that, quietly, the debt of 22m, which East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust had last summer, had been wiped out.

"Good for them. But Bedford confirmed it was still repaying theirs. Why?"

He said he has written to the East of England Strategic Health Authority (EESHA) chief executive Neil MacKay asking for the same deal.

In a statement EESHA said: "Bedford Hospital has been treated the same as hospitals in Hertfordshire.

"Bedford Hospital is now in financial balance and ended 2006-07 with a small surplus.

"The trust is now on a sound financial footing and is making surpluses, which is in line with good financial practices. These surpluses will be available to the trust for reinvestment in patient services."

EESHA said on Thursday that Bedford Hospital would not have to repay its 11m debt as the money had been absorbed into the local primary care trusts.

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