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Last Updated: Friday, 27 January 2006, 13:20 GMT
Region faces 220m health deficit
Campaigners have battled to save two hospitals in Suffolk
Campaigners have battled to save two hospitals in Suffolk
Hospitals and health bodies across the eastern region are facing combined deficits of more than 220m, a BBC News website survey has revealed.

The figure is leading to cuts across the East including mental health ward closures in Cambs and cuts in the number of beds at West Herts hospitals.

Suffolk East Primary Care Trust (PCT), facing a 19.8m deficit, this week announced the closure of two hospitals.

Bartlett, Felixstowe and the Hartismere in Eye will close in about six months.

Mental Health services have also been hit - The Hollies and The Pines outpatient unit at St Clements in Ipswich are both closing.

Management cuts

Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire PCTs have a deficit of 17m.

This week, along with the local mental health trust, they announced the closure of two patient rehabilitation units and a ward at Fulbourn Hospital, Cambs.

Tim Bryson, acting chief executive of the mental health trust, said: "We remain committed to the continuing development of mental health services for the populations we serve within the funding available to us."

West Hertfordshire Hospital Trust, which runs Hemel Hempsted Hospital, has a current deficit of 16.3m but that is expected to grow to 28.6m by the end of the financial year.

Break-even

The trust said earlier this month that it was reducing bed capacity and its reliance on agency staff, as well as reducing the number of management posts, to help meet the shortfall.

Mark Millar from the Essex Strategic Health Authority said that although seven trusts and PCTs in the county were forecasting a deficit of 30m, 13 others were reporting surpluses or break-even positions in line with agreed plans.

"The net forecast out-turn deficit now being reported for Essex is in fact 7.5m," he said.

Some trusts in the region are managing to show a surplus, such as North Essex Mental Health Partnership which said it had a surplus of 2.5m at present.


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