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Health trust lost out on millions

PUBLISHED: 09:32 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 July 2010

HEALTH chiefs have finally admitted that they did lose out on £7.5m of cash, which could have been used for health services or buildings.

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, the health trust which runs surgeries, dentists and community hospitals in the area, has previously insisted that £7.

HEALTH chiefs have finally admitted that they did lose out on £7.5m of cash, which could have been used for health services or buildings.

NHS Yarmouth and Waveney, the health trust which runs surgeries, dentists and community hospitals in the area, has previously insisted that £7.5m of cash which they had to give back after failing to spend it in the last financial year had “been returned”.It was reported earlier this year that the trust was having to hand back £7.5m to the Department of Health because it had not spent it. Since then the trust has insisted that it has got the money back. But now its chief executive has admitted that if it had spent the money before April as planned, it would have got just as much money this year.

Today, patient representatives are meeting the trust chairman David Edwards to ask for answers about the PCT's finances. Patrick Thompson, chairman of Norfolk Links, and Marion Farman-Smith, chairman of Suffolk Links, will be asking about the PCT's income and spending plans for this year and want to ensure there is no repeat scenario of cash having to be returned at the end of the year. Mr Thompson said: “We will be asking whether the additional funding they lost last year has in fact been added to their income last year.

“If we do not get the answers we want we will be going to the strategic health authority and asking for answers from them.”

The trust has repeatedly claimed that it has not lost the £7.5m. The minutes from the board meeting on March 25 say, in response to a query about the cash: “The £7.5m will be returned to the PCT this April.”

In a statement earlier this month, interim director of finance Alison Taylor said: “Our 2009-10 revenue resource limit stands at £374.8m and includes, among other adjustments such as inflation, the whole £9.6m which we transferred to capital in 2008-9.”

But Paul Zollinger-Read, who has been interim chief executive since the resignation of his predecessor Mike Stonard, told the EDP there was “no more money” this year than if the £7.5m had been spent last year.

He said: “You are saying we missed an opportunity to build new buildings, and I understand that. But if we had built those buildings then we would have to spend money on maintaining them. We haven't lost money in the global picture, we just didn't use it in part of our capital plan. As a new chief executive I now need to make sure everyone is aware of what our capital needs are. To be fair to the organisation, we are finalising a really big capital programme across the patch.”

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