A British Medical Association survey of NHS trusts in England shows that 72% are facing a funding shortfall in the current financial year – the average being about £6.2m.
The survey was sent to 530 medical directors, and of the 120 responses so far, 37% said their trusts will reduce services in an effort to reduce the overspend.
As well as bed closures, staff redundancies, a freeze on recruitment and withdrawal of staff development and training are expected as possible rsponses to the crisis.
Almost half (47%) plan to freeze recruitment or make some staff redundant, and 14% include medical staff in those targets.
Chairman of the BMA Consultants Committee, Paul Miller, said: “If the government persists with the introduction of a market-based system for health care there must be a level playing field for all providers. It is financial madness to guarantee private providerss huge volumes of work, often at a higher cost than the NHS, while NHS hospitals are deprived of essential funding and their facilities are being left idle.”
Meanwhile the health services union Unison will call for an end to further privatisation of health services at the Labour party conference. It will call for an urgent review of private sector involvement in the NHS and an end to the introduction of competition in primary care.
I said more privatisation would mean “higher costs, service failure and worse terms and conditions for staff”.