Bold aim to halve health debt in a year

HEALTH bosses in Suffolk are looking to halve their crippling debt within the next 12 months, it was revealed today.

HEALTH bosses in Suffolk are looking to halve their crippling debt within the next 12 months, it was revealed today.

The Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) said 2007/08 spending and savings are expected to leave it £15million in the red - a £15.9m saving from its current £30.9m of debt.

The new set of figures are due to go before the board tomorrow.

Julian Herbert, director of finance, said: “Approval of the budgets is recommended to provide the organisation with realistic, challenging targets against which to monitor performance during the year.


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“Factors considered when compiling the budgets have included the risks and deliverability of achieving more rapid change and the need to deliver on national improvements.

“Approval does not mean the PCT will stop striving to clear all debt within 2007/08 by exceeding the savings set out.”

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Spending next year will include £1.4m on refurbishing Felixstowe General Hospital.

The trust says investment will also reduce waiting times for inpatients, outpatients and diagnostic testing, help 3,827 people quit smoking and improve sexual health services by 2008.

The PCT, which moved into its new Rushbrook House headquarters in Bramford on Wednesday, was formed last year after the merger of four PCTs in the county.

The debt of the PCTs was £2.4m in 2002/03, £15.3m in 2003/04, £33.7m in 2004/05 and £35.5m in 2005/06.

Cut backs resulting from the debts have included the closure of the Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital and the closure of mental health services including the Hollies at St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich, Bridge House in Ipswich and Old Fox House in Stowmarket.

Should health services in Suffolk or the government be responsible for clearing the county's debts? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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