PCT Underspend Outrage(June 14, 2013)
Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram has obtained Department of Health figures, which show that Merseyside PCTs have handed back over £15million to Central Government in underspend.
Steve explained, “It is hard to believe that in the same week that it is revealed people from Liverpool have one of the highest early death expectancy rates from cancer, strokes and heart disease, Jeremy Hunt’s department has pocketed our £15million.
“To some in Whitehall, £15million may not seem like an awful lot of money but in fact, it could pay for 500 new nurses’ posts at a time when we have dangerous low staffing levels in Aintree Hospital and across Merseyside hospitals. It could also pay for 150 new ambulances at a time when more patients have to wait for over half an hour for ambulance than at any time since 1997.
“In other words, I want that £15million back and I want it to come with interest and on top of the funding that Merseyside’s local authorities will be granted in the next round of public health spending decisions. Our health need is clear and the Health Secretary should not play politics with the health outcomes of my constituents.
“It is also vital that this does not descend into a blame game. It is not the fault of the people of Merseyside that the PCTs did not spend this money. This Government chose to embark on an undemocratic and unnecessary top down reorganistion of the NHS which has cost £3billion and placed staff, GPs surgeries and hospitals under enormous pressure.
“Jeremy Hunt has always been regarded as more of a friend to the Treasury than he is to the NHS which is why I have submitted further questions to try and ascertain what directives his department issued to PCTs regarding their underspends. If it emerges that he gave instructions to return that money to central government, I will be calling on him to explain his decision on the floor of the House of Commons”.