A HARTLEPOOL hospital boss has launched an angry attack on the Government claiming it failed to deliver funding for vital front-line services.
Alan Foster, chief executive of the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, says an additional £1.5bn of funding promised last year ‘doesn’t seem to be getting through to the frontline’.
The Department of Health says that the budget for the NHS has increased every year, since 2010.
Mr Foster has warned that unless extra resources are made available - acute hospitals such as the University Hospital of Hartlepool could be forced to make drastic cuts, including reducing the number of beds to cancelling non-urgent surgeries.
Mr Foster said the new money that was promised for the NHS doesn’t seem to be getting through to the frontline.
He said services are under the most severe pressure and need some of this extra money.
Mr Foster said the trust is taking its winter beds out early because it can’t afford to run them.
He said that if this is done too early, it puts more pressure on the system, but he cannot afford to staff beds and ask exhausted staff to do extra shifts.
Mr Foster said he was speaking out to raise public awareness of the problems being faced by the NHS.
He added: “People need to speak out because I don’t think people really understand just how difficult things are becoming in the NHS.
“I think the money is in the system and the public are being told that there is money coming through, but we are not seeing it in the way we need to.
“Quite frankly, if the money doesn’t come through then the NHS is going to be in dire straits.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “By taking tough decisions, we’ve been able to increase the NHS budget by an extra £2 billion for the next financial year, and NHS England’s own Chief Executive Simon Stevens acknowledged we had ‘listened and responded with the funding [needed] for next year to sustain front-line NHS services and kick-start transformation.”