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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 July 2006, 00:07 GMT 01:07 UK
Health cuts due to NHS deficits
Health services in Shropshire are being lost as a result of NHS deficits, according to the county council.

Services in the community, such as chiropody, have been affected and the authority was filling the gap left in NHS funding, a spokesman said.

A Local Government Association report on Tuesday shows where health trusts are in deficit, seven out of 10 authorities have been affected.

The Department of Health said record funding had been provided for the NHS.

Shropshire County Council spokesman Paul Masterman said the 36m NHS deficit across Shropshire was having a range of effects on health care.

Filling the gap

The assessment of elderly people to move into care homes was being delayed meaning patients were spending longer in hospital than was necessary, he said.

The provision of some services, like chiropody, were being delayed or not provided, he added.

"In some cases waiting times are longer, in some cases the local authority is providing more of the services and in some cases the service is not being provided," he said.

Many of the health services in the community are funded in partnership between the county council and NHS organisations.

"Where it can, the council is providing extra resources to fill the gap in NHS services," he said.

"This can involve added paper work of assessing elderly people to enter a care home, which we're able to do without any effect on council tax rates.

"If we are asked to pick up more responsibilities than in the past it could have an effect on council tax rates, but we are committed to keeping tax rates down.

"We are hoping that the NHS gets their stall in order and provides services when and where people want them."

Record funding

A Department of Health spokesman said nationally local authority funding had increased by 39% since 1997 and NHS funding would reach record levels of more than 92 billion by 2007/08

An extra 200m had been allocated for older people's projects over the next two years and 99m for health and social care.

"Local authorities may claim that their funding is not enough, but there is tangible evidence that much is being achieved," the spokesman said.

"The number of older people being helped intensively to live at home has exceeded its target and delayed discharge rates from hospital for people over 75 have also fallen dramatically by 72%."




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