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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
NHS in East turns corner on debt
Nurses (generic)
The East of England SHA has cuts its deficit from 290m to 152m
The NHS in the eastern region is all set to clear its deficit by 2008, a report to the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has revealed.

The SHA's director of finance Steve Clarke told BBC News that the amount of debt facing trusts had already been cut from 290m to 152m in 2006/2007.

But he warned that some trusts are continuing to spend over budget.

The report to the SHA's board meeting on Thursday says five of the health trusts in the region overspent.

They are Mid-Essex Hospital, West Hertfordshire Hospitals, East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals, Hinchingbrooke Hospital and Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust (PCT).

'Push for productivity'

Mr Clarke told the BBC News website that these trusts would be looking at ways of making savings to meet next year's spending targets.

But he said he was pleased that 28 of the 33 organisations across the eastern region had balanced their budgets in 2006/2007.

He added that he welcomed the fact that East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals had made progress in finding 6m of savings.

Mr Clarke said in the coming year the "push for productivity" could see some reduction in staffing where efficiency savings were needed.

He said in 2007/2008 the NHS in the East "needed to contain cost increases".

A report to the SHA says special teams of accountants have helped trusts across the region.

But despite the work overall Bedfordshire PCT saw its budget shortfall increase by 7m and Luton PCT saw its shortfall increased by 6m.

Both increases were partly due to a greater use of its services than had been planned for.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire PCT said: "The PCT funded more care for Bedfordshire residents than had been originally planned.

"This non-recurrent additional spending included funding extra activity to reduce in-patient waiting times from 26 to 20 weeks."

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