The British Government has recently announced an official writing off of the NHS debt; promising to cover up to 13.4 billion of it’s deficit. But what does this mean for Worcestershire services and how will this assist?
Announced in an official press release from the government on April 2nd by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the measure comes alongside bigger plans to reform the NHS. Suggested to commence next year in order to provide more financial security, the plans are claimed by both the Department of Health & Social Care and NHS England to help stabilise the NHS’ national trusts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In his press release statements, Hancock announced publically that the debt will ‘wipe the slate clean’ in order to ensure proper financial capabilities of hospitals and their trusts.
I remain committed to providing the NHS with whatever it needs to tackle coronavirus, and the changes to the funding model will give the NHS immediate financial certainty to plan and deliver their emergency response.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/nhs-to-benefit-from-13-4-billion-debt-write-off
The debt officially being written off has been confirmed at present to prohibit the creation of additional borrowing or fiscal cost from the Exchequer.
It has been estimated that out of 107 NHS trusts; the average debt was roughly £100 million, with 2 trusts having a combined debt of roughly £2 billion. As well as this new measure, a letter was distributed to all NHS Trusts with details of their local area’s capital budget for the remainder of 2020/21 to enable infrastructure improvements. This move comes as well as the announced capital facility launhed back in February, ensuring the NHS has access to better investment capital.
What does this all mean though for the NHS in Worcestershire?
At present it’s all mainly speculation what this all means for many local NHS Trusts. The removal of such a large amount of debt from the NHS will allow nationally for better investment policies to be implimented back into hospitals nationwide. This equally would benefit local NHS Trusts such as those here in Worcestershire. At present, Worcestershire Acute Hospital NHS Trust had a significant debt of £320 million pounds. Many local MP’s have welcomed the move, including MP for Worcester, Robin Walker who announced that it was ‘welcomed news’ to many local hospitals across the county.
In his press statements, Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of the WAHT stated:
“Anything which helps us address our historic debt position is welcome – especially now when our staff are working so hard to care for patients during the biggest challenge the NHS has ever faced. We will consider the detail of this announcement carefully to understand what it means for our Trust.”