NHS trusts in England have racked up almost $4 billion in debt as a widening deficit causes chaos throughout the system.
Most British people will tell you that they love the country’s National Health Services, but a recent analysis reveals that the UK’s hospitals are in serious trouble. According to an Express report, the country’s healthcare system holds a staggering $4 billion in debts.
How did this happen? The analysis showed that 179 out of 240 NHS service providers were having a seriously hard time balancing their books. And the debt is causing shockwaves throughout the entire healthcare system – as many as 98,000 people reported waiting for more than four hours in A&E because there weren’t enough beds available. The report estimates that the debt is £1.8 billion, or almost $260 billion, but many fear that the number could actually be much higher.
According to economist John Appleby, evidence is pretty strong that a large number of trusts would not have the savings on hand to meet their debts. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander was a bit more blunt, saying that the NHS was currently in “financial free-fall.” The Labour MP also chimed in, saying, “The government needs to be honest about what this crisis means for patient care. It means cuts to frontline staff, longer waits for treatment and services at risk of closure.”
Sally Gainsbury of the Nuffield Trust research group stated that the deficit has grown over years of poor financial planning in the UK’s hospitlas, and not a one-time event.
“Even if hospitals cut their costs by the £5 billion the government has asked, we estimate it will still take around five years for them to get back into the black,” she said.
The BBC reports that only seven of the 138 hospital trusts in England are currently still in surplus, according to the most recent data available. Experts have said that the performance of the health system is deteriorating at an alarming rate.