Consultant hits out at NHS funding

GOVERNMENT cash intended for frontline NHS services is failing to reach its target, a senior Essex doctor has claimed.

GOVERNMENT cash intended for frontline NHS services is failing to reach its target, a senior Essex doctor has claimed.

John Eddy, a consultant obstetrician at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said primary care trusts (PCTs) did not come forward to offer hospitals in their area the money.

Mr Eddy said his hospital has only recently become aware that the Government pledged millions of pounds to help deal with the European Working Time Directive (EWTD).

It has only just submitted a bid for the money from North East Essex PCT, which received the cash direct from the Government.


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Mr Eddy said: “My trust, like many others, had not realised that the Government had given PCTs money to bring in the EWTD.

“The problem, I think, is a lack of knowledge about the money. The Government gives money for various things but it does not get where it should go because people are not aware.”

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He said local primary care trusts accounted for the money only if staff kicked up a fuss.

"Many PCTs work on the principle that if you don't ask for it, they don't want to account for it. I think this is an inherent problem.

"My (hospital) trust has now realised that the money is there and has put in bids for it.

"I don't look upon my trust as inefficient. I think if the Government says that extra money is available, they expect the PCT to ring them up and say 'look, we've got this extra money'.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The deadline for notifying the European Commission is the end of January '09.

“We are monitoring the situation as some smaller specialties and isolated hospitals may find meeting the deadline more challenging.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the BMA and other key stakeholders to support the NHS with implementation of the Working Time Directive.

“We included £110m in PCT allocations in 2008/09 to help support NHS compliance with the Working Time Directive.

“This will be increased to £310m in 2009/10. SHAs will be able to target £50m of this funding to support changes needed for 24/7 specialities like paediatrics, obstetrics and anaesthetics."

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