Jeremy Hunt warned NHS now hit ‘crisis point’ with patient safety & care now at risk

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

The NHS has hit crisis point with safety and patient care now at risk, a damning report will reveal.

The report said that hospitals are really struggling because of pressure on them to make “efficiency savings” of £22bn over four years.

Added to that spending by acute hospital trusts on agency staff rose 24% between 2012-13 and 2014-15. These extra costs have added a colossal £880million this year taking the total bill to £4bn.

The Public Accounts Committee has warned Jeremy Hunt that the demand for savings is, “seriously­ flawed.”

The 150 NHS trusts had a deficit of £843million in 2014-15, up from £91million in 2013-14. It is possible it could hit £2.5billion this year.

The committee has said that three quarters of trusts are in financial trouble and a lot of hospitals are only struggling by, due to the £1.8bn emergency bail out by the Department of Health.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, the chairs of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “Acute hospital trusts are at crisis point.”

Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander said: “The cost of this failure is patients facing longer waits and poorer care, with hospitals­ overcrowded and understaffed.”

“This report reveals the scale of the crisis and lays the blame squarely at the door of No 10.

“Tory failure to adequately fund the NHS and cuts to nurse training places in the last Parliament­, have added huge pressure. Staff shortages force hospitals to hire expensive agency staff, and the Tory plan to scrap student nurse bursaries­ risks making things worse.

“The report is also clear Ministers have no idea how they are going to save £22billion over the next four years.”

However, the Department for Health insisted: “We are supporting challenged­ trusts to improve finances, while clamping down on rip-off agencies.”

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