NHS faces cuts over £10bn funding shortfall

FRONTLINe health care could soon be plunged into chaos after a leaked report warned the NHS faces a £10billion a year funding crisis.

The damning document accused ministers of “complacency” and warned of cuts to cancer research and services for the elderly.

It said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley faces an “unpalatable trade off” between longer waiting times or having to find more money.

And it predicted a controversial shake-up which will see GPs given control of health budgets, will lead to “patchy results” for patients.

The conclusions are contained in a blunt letter to Treasury chief Secretary Danny Alexander from the ConDem Coalition’s Independent Challenge Group of experts.

They said planned efficiency savings are unlikely to be achieved, leaving the NHS facing a £10billion-a-year shortfall.

And they reckon ministers will have to consider “even greater” cuts to the social care budget than the £3.4billion already planned.

The report also says the NHS can no longer afford to spend £200million a year funding charities such as Cancer Research UK. The experts blasted the decision to abolish primary care trusts and hand responsibility to GPs.

They add: “We fear that the results will be patchy. The NHS could face a significant budget shortfall.

“The government will be faced with a choice between dealing with the fall-out from increased waiting times or increasing the Department of Health’s budget.”

Shadow Health Secretary John Healey said: “It is further evidence that this high-risk, high-cost reorganisation is a massive distraction from improving patient care and making the sound efficiency savings Labour previously planned.

“For the sake of patients, David Cameron needs to get a grip on his Government’s NHS plans.”

A Department of Health spokesman claimed the letter, written in September, was now out of date and the issues it raised had already been addressed.

He added that the original health plans had been revised and an extra £2.9 billion has been allocated to the NHS for next year.

via mirror.co.uk.

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