NHS Peterborough debt cuts plan falls behind

A health trust in Cambridgeshire which overspent by £12.8m in the past financial year has fallen behind by £3m in its plan to reduce the deficit.

NHS Peterborough wants to save £20m between 2010 and 2011.

It has announced its turnaround plan is falling behind schedule and this will affect finances next year.

New chief executive Dr Paul Zollinger-Read said he had found a shortfall in his review of finances and reported it to the board.

"We have made progress on some areas identified in the turnaround plan and realised savings of just over £3m," he said.

"However we have not made as much progress in other areas as the plan had visualised.

"This, combined with over performance on our hospital contract, has led us to forecast the current overspend."

£33m prediction

The turnaround plan is now being reviewed in the light of current commitments, he said.

"We will ensure we take all the actions necessary to ensure we have a sustainable health economy in Peterborough," Dr Zollinger-Read said.

"This is crucial so we can provide a firm foundation for our developing GP consortia."

These groups of local doctors will be able to commission services on behalf of their patients and is part of a new care structure announced by the Ministry of Health.

Action was needed because budget overspends were predicted to rise to £33m because of inflation, a growing population, new drugs and rising use of healthcare services, the trust said.

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