09 May 2008
By Claire Armstrong Dewsbury Reporter
THE NHS trust which runs Dewsbury and District Hospital is being freed of its £77m debt – thanks to cash boosts from central government and local primary care trusts.
The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is being given £45.6m by the local Strategic Health Authority, which is funded by the Department of Health.
It is also receiving £11m from Kirklees Primary Care Trust (PCT) and £20.4m from Wakefield District PCT.
Last year the trust was named as one of 17 'financially challenged trusts' nationwide which had asked for loans from the government to deal with its debts.
Then, the trust's finance director Tony Waite admitted that in 2004 they overspent their budget by £30m but had since been working hard to reduce their overspending.
Financial consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers were called in to examine the debt and found the trust was in no position to repay any government loan, recommending a one-off payment from the government instead.
The Mid Yorkshire Trust's chief executive, Julia Squire, welcomed this week's announcement, saying the trust could now move on from its financial difficulties.
She said: "I'm delighted that this financial solution allows the trust to draw a line under the past and we appreciate the Strategic Health Authority and PCTs' support to make this possible.
"Through the hard work of our staff we have improved our financial position and performance each year to a point where we balanced our books in 2007/08 for the first time."
Mike Potts, chief executive of Kirklees PCT, said their donation would not affect their ability to pay for doctors' surgeries or other health services in the district.
He said: "The money provided by the PCT will not have an adverse impact on services for Kirklees patients because it is being taken from a fund previously set up by the Strategic Health Authority."
Kevin Hollinrake, Dewsbury's Conservative Parliamentary candidate, welcomed the news that the trust would soon be debt-free.
Mr Hollinrake had begun a petition to wipe the trust's debts, collecting more than 300 signatures.
He said: "It's good news. There was this long, immense sentence that had been hanging over the Mid Yorkshire Trust for far too long."
But he said he found it surprising that Kirklees PCT had a spare fund of £11m, and questioned whether the debt was really being cleared or was simply being moved elsewhere.
He said: "I'm really keen to make sure that this isn't robbing Peter to pay Paul."
Last Updated: 08 May 2008 2:55 PM
Source: Dewsbury Reporter