NHS Croydon's £35m deficit report due today
A report into NHS Croydon’s £35 million deficit is due to be published this morning.
The primary care trust (PCT) admitted in November last year it had spent millions more than it had budgeted for.
The issue came to light when NHS Croydon’s financial team looked at its accounts and discovered millions of pounds missing from the budget following an overspend. After surveying its 2010-11 accounts, a south west London cluster finance report found the PCT had gone £35m over budget.
The deficit emerged despite the Audit Commission, paid £275,000 to conduct the statutory audit, giving the accounts a clean bill of health.
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Reports in January this year suggested Croydon might turn to its neighbouring boroughs -Merton, Sutton, Kingston, Richmond and Wandsworth - for assistance, but NHS bosses quickly denied this.
NHS Croydon has been seemingly unable to produce any detailed evidence of how its debt managed to build up to such a level and who is responsible.
Auditors Ernst & Young, tasked with conducting an independent investigation, is understood to be exploring whether PCT bosses deliberately hid excessive spending.
NHS Croydon was in December last year warned that its black hole could prove terminal to Croydon University Hospital's bid for Foundation Status. The hospital is reliant on the millions of pounds worth of services it is commissioned to provide for the PCT.
Any reduction in this income would threaten its credible long term business plan, which the hospital must have if it is to be granted Foundation Status and avoid being merged with another trust.