Health group debt set to soar by £20m

Bedford Hospital
Bedford Hospital

A health group that announced a whopping £43.2 million end-of-year deficit has revealed it expects to spiral a further £20 million into the red during the forthcoming financial year.

NHS England has now issued the Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for buying healthcare for the people of Beds, with ‘directions’ to improve.

A statement issued by the national body stated: “It is essential that the people of Bedfordshire have confidence in the performance of the BCCG and that it will continue to commission safe, sustainable health services now and in the future.”

The full extent of the financial woes were exposed at a meeting of the commissioning group’s governing body last week.

A spokesman for the BCCG said: “The CCG first reported that it was likely to record a large deficit in November 2014 and in the succeeding months it became clear that this deficit was far larger and more complex than originally believed.

“In particular, it emerged that not all of this deficit could be attributed to 2014/15 but should have been reported in the previous financial year. As a result BCCG has restated its accounts for 2013/14.”

The group, which is forecasting a continued deficit for the next two years, is now recording a deficit of £12.7 million for 2013/14 and a deficit of £30.5 million for 2014/15 – a total of £43.2 million.

North East Beds MP and Health Minister Alastair Burt has said he will be keeping a close eye on the group as it attempts to claw its way out of the red.

He said: “I am disappointed at this news. As with all NHS organisations, it is vital they exercise tight financial grip and live within their means.

“I will be paying close attention to this issue, but local people can be reassured that there has been no impact on patient care, which remains safe and of good quality.

“It is important that a clear plan to bring the deficit into balance is set out, and I will be being kept up to date on progress.”