NHS accused of ignoring spend warnings

HEALTH campaigners today claimed NHS Suffolk's purchase of a �475,000 farmhouse contradicted government warnings on public spending.

HEALTH campaigners today claimed NHS Suffolk's purchase of a �475,000 farmhouse contradicted government warnings on public spending.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said the first priority in bringing spending under control would be efficiency savings and shifting resources to the front line rather than making reductions in services.

His warning comes after NHS Suffolk controversially bought a farmhouse, which will be turned into a car park, opposite its Bramford headquarters.

Campaigner Prue Rush said: “It is contradictory. The government seems to be feeding us one line and our administrators are still going wilfully about their own way and spending more money as they see fit.

“I do not think they can justify the fact that they have doubled the number of administrators in the last four years and that is the reason why they need this extra car park.”

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer said NHS Suffolk's added: “The one thing that we cannot have is money wasted in a ridiculous way and building a car park is not something that we can afford.

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“Even if it only costs �10, it is �10 that we cannot afford. But when it costs, when all added up, three quarters of a million, this is money which is a disgraceful waste.

“NHS Suffolk is not going to have enough money to do a job properly if it goes on like this.”

An NHS Suffolk spokesperson said: “Our five-year strategic plan for improving and developing healthcare services in Suffolk sets out 12 areas we are investing in using our �850m budget for 2009/10.

“Some 46 per cent of that is allocated for acute hospital care, 28pc on primary care services (including dentists and doctors) and medicine costs, 7pc on community care and 10pc on mental health.

“We have plans to make sure we continue to provide good healthcare for patients in this financial climate.”

What's your view on the farmhouse controversy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk