Tories: East Anglian NHS is underfunded

THE Tories' health spokesman last night said he had every sympathy with a Suffolk debt ridden NHS hospital trust because it had become the victim of deficits in the county's primary care trust.

By Graham Dines

THE Tories' health spokesman last night said he had every sympathy with a Suffolk debt ridden NHS hospital trust because it had become the victim of deficits in the county's primary care trust.

However, Andrew Lansley told the EADT that it ought to be possible for Ipswich Hospital - which is nearly £50m in the red - to sort out a business plan and return to surplus within the next few years.

Mr Lansley said the hospital - whose management were warned last week that the level of overspending could be illegal - had suffered because the surrounding primary care trusts had had to cut back on financing hospital provision because of their own debts.


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“There is undoubtedly underfunding of health services generally across the East of England by this government. And I can understand why the public is puzzled at seeing Ipswich Hospital that is heavily in the red embarking on a major building project of an accident and emergency centre.

“That can be explained because the NHS is awash with cash for new capital projects but there is underfunding of day-to-day running costs.”

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Mr Lansley also questioned the wisdom of reconfiguring health services in the East of England, which could eventually lead to the accident and emergency departments being removed from West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and Hinchingbroke Hospital at Huntingdon.

If that occurred, Addenbrooks in Cambridge would be the only A&E unit between Peterborough and Ipswich.

Mr Lansley, in a speech to conference, promised the Tories would support, not supplant the family, as he warned that the state made a poor “parent.”

Mr Lansley said that half the children leaving care lacked qualifications, a quarter had a depressive illness, while a quarter of those in jail had been in care.

He told the Tory conference family and marriage was the best environment for raising children. “We will support the family, not supplant the family.”

His comments are a direct challenge to Education Secretary Alan Johnson who insisted last week that the state could become a good parent as he outlined new measures for children in care.

Mr Lansley insisted: “We have to remember that the well-being of children is a social responsibility, not just a state responsibility.”

He also pledged greater independence for the NHS and to make child health a key priority.

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