HL Deb 24 March 1998 vol 587 cc237-8WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

By how much the budgets of Redbridge Area Health Authority and Forest Health Care Trust were or are each being cut in:

  • (a) 1997–98 as compared with 1996–97; and
  • (b) 1998–99 as compared with the previous year;

what representations they have received from Waltham Forest Community Health Council about cuts in expenditure; to what extent cuts in the two financial years mentioned will affect care in the community; and what steps are being taken to minimise the impact on the poorest residents.[HL1015]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington)

The information is listed in the tables:

General Allocation and Cash and Real Terms Increases for Redbridge and Waltham Forest Health Authority
Year Allocation Cash Increase Real Terms Increase
£000s £000s % £000s %
1996–97 212,275 7,330 3.58 1,689 0.82
1997–98 221,589 8,347 3.91 4,002 1.88
1998–99 231,328 9,190 4.14 2,999 1.35

National Health Service trusts are not set budgets but obtain income from contracts for healthcare services with health authorities and general practitioner fundholder practices. They also receive other income for non-patient care. The total income is normally used as the indication of the turnover of NHS trusts and is provided in the table.

Contracts for 1998–99 have not been finalised, therefore this information is not included in the following table.

Total income for Forest Health Care NHS Trust
1996–97 1997–98 (Quarter 3) Difference
Total income £121.9 million £118.3 million -£3.6 million

We have received a number of representations from Waltham Forest Community Health Council expressing concerns about the financial situation in Waltham Forest.

The health authority is considering a number of savings proposals, most of which will come through efficiency savings and management reductions.

Cuts in patient services will only be taken as a last resort. The health authority aims to minimise the impact that changes in health services have on the health needs of all patients. It is also further developing an established service to improve refugees' access to primary care and other services. The health authority is also continuing to develop a community health project which provides a primary care support service for those with the greatest need.