Protection for budget

PUBLISHED: 11:56 10 February 2006 | UPDATED: 21:40 28 May 2010

FEARS of massive future cuts in Fenland health services have prompted a promise from health chief Alan Burns that local budgets will be protected. There is growing anxiety in East Cambs and Fenland Primary Care Trust (PCT) that its budgets could be draine

FEARS of massive future cuts in Fenland health services have prompted a promise from health chief Alan Burns that local budgets will be protected.

There is growing anxiety in East Cambs and Fenland Primary Care Trust (PCT) that its budgets could be drained in the predicted merger with South Cambs and City of Cambridge PCTs, which forecast a 2006 deficit of £21million.

With this in mind, North-East Cambridgeshire MP Malcolm Moss met with Alan Burns, chief executive of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

Mr Moss said: "I asked Mr Burns about the extra money that East Cambs and Fenland PCT was allocated for 2005, 2006 and 2007.

"This money should not be filched by any new county PCT to offset its budgetary problems.

"Mr Burns categorically assured me that this money would be ring-fenced until at least the next financial year."

Audrey Bradford, East Cambs and Fenland PCT chief executive, said the SHA was considering a proposal for East Cambs and Fenland PCT to broker funds to Cambridge, which, if it went ahead, would inevitably affect local services.

She said the PCT had impressed upon the SHA that local people were waiting for promised health service improvements.

"We are seriously concerned about money identified for East Cambridgeshire and Fenland being used to address deficits in other PCTs and are committed to ensuring growth funds are retained locally," said Mrs Bradford.

Consultations are now taking place over the suggested merger of 17 Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk PCTS to form three to five larger ones.

Mrs Bradford said: "I encourage people to make their voices heard."

Public consultation meetings are on Wednesday February 22, at The Maltings, Ely, and Tuesday February 28, at Elme Hall Hotel, Wisbech. Both start at 6.45pm.

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