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NHS hospital bailouts top £400 million

NHS hospitals had to be bailed out to the tune of almost £415 million last year after running out of cash according to Department of Health figures.NHS hospital bailouts top £400 millionIn total 31 hospitals had to be given extra emergency funding to keep them going in 2011-12, up from 21 the previous year.

The payments have risen dramatically since 2009-10, when the department started collating full figures.

That year, they were £187.1 million, while in 2010-11 they rose slightly to £223.0 million, before jumping to £414.2 million.

The big rise coincided with a tighter budget settlement for the NHS as a whole,which has resulted in drops in referrals to hospitals and tighter restrictions on surgery for operations like hip and knee replacements.

Andrew Lansley said: “Labour left us a dismal legacy of challenged hospitals, burdening some of them with PFI deals they could not afford, huge debts, and poor financial governance.

“Even with the Government’s decision to protect NHS spending, the challenges of an ageing population and rising costs mean that these problems cannot be swept under the carpet any longer.

“For some hospital trusts, the challenges they face may be too great for them to take on alone.  That is why we are helping them overcome their problems, with short-term support if necessary, so that they become sustainable in the long-term.”

The largest single bailout was for South London Healthcare Trust, which received £79.2 million last year. Over three years it has been handed £168.7 million. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust was the second biggest recipient in 2011-12, taking £57.7 million in total.