NHS services in Tower Hamlets facing 'massacre'

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:31 05 October 2010

by Gemma Collins HEALTH services in the East End could be facing a massacring it emerged this week as NHS bosses battle with multi-million pound losses. Major cut-backs

by Gemma Collins

HEALTH services in the East End could be facing a "massacring" it emerged this week as NHS bosses battle with multi-million pound losses.

Major cut-backs in healthcare could be on the cards, as a report revealed NHS Tower Hamlets could lose more than £30m over the next seven years, ending up with a £20m deficit in 2017.

And Barts and the London Trust which runs the Royal London is facing a £200m loss by the same year.

The figures were uncovered in a pre-consultation report which was drawn up by Health for North East London as it carried out a major review of healthcare across the area.

And it came as the Royal London was faced with another strain on its budget following claims the £1bn PFI development of Bart's hospitals could end up costing £5.3bn by the time the 35-year contract ends.

Bethnal Green and Bow MP George Galloway said: "Tower Hamlets is set to suffer a "double whammy" with hospital services squeezed at the very time the costly rebuild of the Royal London Hospital is due to come on stream.

"East London could face a massacre of NHS jobs and vital health services."

Proposals to build more polyclinics in the borough and turn the Royal London into one of only two acute hospitals in the area were recently made public.

But according to the pre-consultation report there could be even more cuts in the pipeline, including slashing the number of hospital beds at the Royal London, cutting hospital spending and reducing spending on new drugs.

John Lister from the pressure group London Health Emergency said: "This is utterly massive and unacceptable.

"I don't think we can take cuts this big without creating massive damage to our health service."

It has been predicted that health trusts across the country will be feeling the strain due to the anticipated freeze on NHS budgets from 2011.

As part of the cut-backs across North East London, recommendations include trimming nursing costs, increasing productivity by doctors, saving up to a quarter of drug costs by using fewer branded drugs and slashing overheads.

But a Bart's spokesman insisted there would be "almost" the same number of beds as there is now because they will be used "more effectively".

And he said the trust was confident it could make "efficiency savings" so the increased costs in the rebuilding of the hospital would remain affordable.

A Health for North East London spokesman added: "Our approach is the opposite of making cuts to save money - we asked clinicians to come up with their plans for the highest quality care - their solutions will be more cost efficient and are supported by NHS managers.

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