There are real fears that the major improvements made in the NHS including the huge reductions in waiting times over the past decade will be wiped out after it was announced that North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will face a drastic cut to its budget of £40m over three years.
The cuts have been blamed on the wider economic situation and changes in Government policy resulting in huge sums being taken away from the hospital sector.
Chief Executive Alan Foster has said this is the most difficult financial position the Trust has ever faced and has acknowledged that the cuts will undoubtedly lead to unpopular decisions in order to just keep the Trust afloat.
“A cut of £40m to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will almost certainly cause irreparable damage to their ability to maintain the excellent range of high quality services they have been justly proud of in recent years. These cuts will no doubt undermine all the good work that has gone on in the Trust over the past ten years.
“I know that the Trust will keep patient safety, quality and performance at the top of their agenda as they go through this difficult period. But it will not be easy for them to deliver for the 350000 people who depend on them, as they have in the past. The North East already experiences far greater levels of poor health than the national average and this budget cut will only worsen this position.
“The Tory-led government’s attack on health services is absolutely unacceptable, and this cut to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust proves that they just cannot be trusted on the NHS and is sadly yet another attack on the public services of the North East.”