Health watchdog writes to Theresa May over Harrogate's 'unlawful' £12.8m deficit

PM Theresa May will be receiving a letter from North Yorkshire's Health Watchdog over Harrogate's 12.8m NHS deficit.
PM Theresa May will be receiving a letter from North Yorkshire's Health Watchdog over Harrogate's 12.8m NHS deficit.
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Harrogate’s NHS funding body has been accused of ‘fiddling’ to make its multimillion deficit appear lower than it actually is.

North Yorkshire’s Scrutiny of Health Committee met with senior officials from the five Clinical Commissioning Groups across the county on June 22.

The officials had reported a collective deficit of £46 million at the end of the last financial year with Harrogate reporting a deficit of £12.8 as part of that total figure.

But Chair of the Committee, Councillor Jim Clark suggested it was more than that.

He said: “You had a deficit of at least £46m, but it will probably be more than that.

“There’s a game that goes on between senior accountants... they fiddle about to get the figure they first thought of.”

The Commission heard that letters to Jeremy Hunt, stating how four of the CCGs were acting 'unlawfully' by exceeding their budgets, had received no response from the Health Secretary.

Now Coun Clark will be writing an open letter to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Commission in a bid to address ‘years of very poor financial control’.

He said: "We will be raising the fact that the CCGs have had a deficit over the last year of £46 million and it looks as though they will be heading for another deficit in the current financial year.

"I think it's important that we address the issues now, they have had information from a firm of management consultants, Price Waterhouse Coopers, who say they need to talk urgently with NHS England on how they can get better financial control in place, how they must work closer with one another and with the hospitals.

"It's important that these issues dealt with urgently. We have had years of very poor financial control."