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Fears for patients as CCG behind Darent Valley Hospital and Gravesham Community Hospital reports £17million deficit

PUBLISHED: 12:57 27 April 2017 | UPDATED: 13:43 27 April 2017

Darent Valley Hospital

Darent Valley Hospital

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Increasing population and demand on services has been blamed

Gravesham community hospitalGravesham community hospital

Health funding for Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley has not matched the towns’ growth, leading to a £17million black hole, the area’s Clinical Commissioning Group has told us.

Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley CCG is responsible for organising public health services in the towns, including Darent Valley Hospital and Gravesham Community Hospital, and has forecasted the deficit in its budget for 2016/17.

Increased pressure from the hospitals and other local health services put the CCG back £11million last year, with added pressure coming from the rise in the national minimum wage.

Last year the CCG fell into a £1.2million deficit on its £308.8million budget, meaning it fallen deeper into the red by nearly £16million in the last 12 months.

“Many CCGs and hospital trusts are reporting a deficit this year, in Kent we are no different,” a spokesperson from the CCG said.

“Other CCGs in the region have found it difficult to break-even financially, and in some areas where CCGs are breaking even or reporting a surplus at the end of the financial year, their hospital trusts have deficits.

“In Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley our funding levels have not kept up with the unprecedented growth in housing and population. This increase in population has impacted local health care services considerably this year and in particular the number of patients being treated by our local hospitals.

“The CCG has seen increased activity at Dartford and Gravesham Trust at a cost of £11m plus £3m with other providers of acute services.

“Around 50 per cent of this increase was as a result of the population growth, the rest was increase in demand for services.

“As a result of minimum wage increases and the employer pension, the CCG had an additional cost of the rate paid for Funded Nursing Care of £1.2m.

“We have been talking to NHS England about pressures and have been working hard to reduce the deficit and we will continue to do our best to ensure patients in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley get high quality, safe care.”

Tom Maddison is Kent County Councillor for Dartford north east.

He said: “We’ve got fantastic hard working doctors and nurses at Darent Valley Hospital but I am very concerned of the impact the cut in funding will have on patient care.

“Dartford is a growing town but the government hasn’t recognised that. We are being underfunded so it will be much harder to provide the services local people rely on.

“Waiting times are increasing and unless our local NHS services get the funding it needs, they risk getting far worse.”

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