£1billion shortfall a timebomb for the NHS, warn MPs

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WEARSIDE and Durham MPs have warned against a £1billion shortfall that is “tying the hands of NHS staff”.

Easington MP Grahame Morris and Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson say the Coalition Government’s Office of Budget Responsibility forecast inflation of 2.5 per cent outweighs the proposed two per cent increase in health spending.

They claim this leads to a £0.5billion spending cut for NHS England, adding to a further cut of £0.7billion due to the Government’s “double counting” of social care funding in both NHS and local council budgets.

In comments echoed by Mr Morris, Ms Phillipson said: “David Cameron promised to protect the NHS; the projected shortfall in funding clearly shows the opposite. It’s clear any shortfall in funding ties the hands of NHS staff across Wearside and could lead to a reduction in local services.

“I am anxious about what this real-terms cut will mean for our area, and have written to the chief executive of NHS South of Tyne and Wear asking for urgent answers on the impact this could have.”

The Coalition Government has said it is protecting NHS funding with a “real terms increase” but the challenging financial climate means Trusts must cut out waste and reduce bureaucracy, with “every penny” saved reinvested in frontline patient care.