According to a report in the Guardian the NHS has underspent by half a billion pounds as a result of the aggressive cuts imposed by the health secretary, Patricia Hewitt. A Guardian analysis of health authority figures has revealed that the the size of the underspend has caused fury among health union leaders, who said it was generated by an unnecessarily harsh squeeze on spending during the winter months when many NHS trusts economised by closing wards, axing jobs and delaying operations until the start of the new financial year in April. The cuts included the loss of 22,300 jobs, mainly through local recruitment freezes, and 1,446 compulsory redundancies, mostly among non-clinical staff.
The biggest surplus was in the north-west, where the NHS ended the financial year with £161m in spare cash. Other surpluses included £116m in Yorkshire and Humberside, £92m in London and £73m in the north-east. The only deficits came in the eastern region, which overspent by £152m, and the south-east coast, which was nearly £55m in the red.
Judy Viitanen think the unions are quite right to be furious at this further example of NHS mismanagement! PRimage understand that the total underspend is estimated at £456.8m, without taking into account NHS foundation trusts. And worringly, when their results are declared the surplus could top £500m!