Suffolk health in worst debt league

SUFFOLK Primary Care Trust (PCT) is among the most debt-ridden health bodies in the country, it emerged today.A report from the audit commission showed the PCT's debt of more than £30.

SUFFOLK Primary Care Trust (PCT) is among the most debt-ridden health bodies in the country, it emerged today.

A report from the audit commission showed the PCT's debt of more than £30.8millon was the sixth largest deficit of all PCTs in England.

However there was good news in the county as the report confirmed that Ipswich Hospital had now lifted itself out of its previously crippling financial circumstances.

The hospital had been labelled as having 'poor financial standing' in 2006/07, but it has managed to avoid that status so far this year.

Julian Herbert, Suffolk PCT's director of finance and performance, said: “In 2006/07 we produced an underspend of £4.6m and we are on track to repay the current historical debt so that we will start the 2008/09 financial year without debt, in line with our robust financial plan.

“In fact, when we underwent our fitness for purpose test at the beginning of this year, independent consultants found us to have one of the best financial plans in the East of England and it was held as an exemplar to others.

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“We are very much focusing on improving services and sustaining our financial position - looking to the future rather than revisiting the legacy of the past.”

And Ipswich Hospital too said it was looking forward as it hopes to be debt free by 2009.

Jan Rowsell, hospital spokeswoman, added: “We've moved from a position of being in financial recovery, a very poor position, and we are doing much, much better now.

“Our biggest challenge is to pay off our historic debt. We're doing well but we've got a way to go.

“It is a very good feeling to be in this position.”

Is the NHS in Suffolk saving cash in the right way? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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