Health authority tens of millions in the red

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Croydon’s health authority has overspent by £35 million in the last financial year, it was announced this week.

Reacting to the announcement by Croydon Primary Care Trust, Mike Fisher, council leader, expressed, “profound shock and disappointment” at Monday’s cabinet meeting.

The PCT buys services from hospitals, doctors and other services in the borough.

Fisher insisted the PCT must, “pay up in full for services we have already provided on their behalf”. He was particularly concerned that usual checks and audits had not worked adequately.

He added in his emergency statement to the meeting: “It appears that in recent years the PCT has been spending significantly beyond its means. No doubt there will be a full public account at some stage in the future so that we can all understand what has gone wrong, and in particular, why the usual checks and balances, including the annual audit process, have not worked adequately in this situation.”

NHS South West London said the overspend is due to higher activity in hospitals than was budgeted for, but promised they are, “taking robust action to resolve this problem.”

They added: “We are developing a detailed action plan to get back into balance and ensure robust financial planning for the future to live within the funding we are given each year from central government.”

Working together to develop the action plan are NHS South West London, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, alongside Croydon Council.

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Croydon GP and leader of one of the Clinical Commissioning Groups, promised the action plan would be about “redesigning services, not cutting them”.

It was also noted that, “budgets were not set at the right level”, a fact uncovered by their internal review.

However, NHS South West London said the overspending was reduced to £23m after the release of financial reserves.


Additional reporting by Daniel O’Donnell


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