This morning, I have a meeting with Croydon PCT about the news that for a number of years they have been spending more than they should have been (about £30-35 million in the current financial year) and that this has not been picked up by the annual audit process.
I am keen to learn more, both about how this situation arose and their plans to recover the situation.
Obviously my top concern is that there isn’t an impact on the health care provided to my constituents but I am also concerned that it doesn’t affect Croydon Health Services’ application for foundation trust status. If, in the long term, Croydon PCT/the GP consortia that will take over from it were to disproportionately reduce the services they commission from Croydon University Hospital, it could make its application financially unviable and the Trust would then have to partner with another trust from elsewhere in London, which would be bad news for Croydon.
On a positive note, I received a letter from the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, last week saying that Croydon PCT would receive a 2.8% increase in funding next year, above the Office for Budget Responsibility's prediction of inflation for 2012/13 - evidence that the Government is keeping its promise to protect the NHS from the cuts that other services are seeing in their funding to tackle the deficit.