The full extent of the financial crisis faced by NHS hospitals across England has been revealed in a leaked document.
The document, revealed by the Labour Party, shows that two-thirds of hospitals are expected to be in deficit in the current financial year (2015/16).
An analysis of 98 NHS trusts shows a projected deficit this year of £759 million, three-times higher than 2014/15 and equivalent of £1.86 billion across all England’s 240 trusts.
Facing the prospect of a financial black-hole, many hospitals could be forced into making ‘recovery plans’ which include cutting staff, bed numbers and even ending some services.
Labour argues that the government’s inability to get to grips with NHS funding is as a direct result of £3bn wasted on top-down reorganisation of the health and social care system.
According to Labour, community services like social care and GP services were stripped-back under the Tory-led coalition and hospitals were overwhelmed with rising demand.
They also claim that nurse training has been cut, leading to ‘severe staff shortages and rising wasteful spending on agency staff’.
This has led to a growing crisis in A&E, claims Labour. More than one million patients had to wait over four hours for treatment last year and waiting lists for operations are at a seven-year high.
And one in four patients are waiting a week or more to see a GP.
A Freedom of Information request by Labour shows hospitals declaring significant “operational problems” on more than 1,000 occasions last winter.
It also suggests that hospitals are having to call in rat catchers and pest control teams, after David Cameron axed more than 2,000 cleaners.