A HEALTH boss expects the economic downturn will mean less money for the local NHS.
Helen Bellairs, chief executive of Western Cheshire Primary Care Trust, said the local health service traditionally received an increase in its allocation of “inflation plus a bit”.
Mrs Bellairs is aware of the funding situation for the next two years because it is outlined in the government’s three-year comprehensive spending review but after that it is unknown.
Asked if she expected the NHS to get less money in line with the fall-off in tax receipts due to the recession, she said: “The simple person would say ‘yes’.”
She added: “Whatever money we get will be used wisely.”
The PCT has now drawn up a draft five-year strategic plan with six goals of giving children the best start in life, closing the gap in life expectancy across the population, ensuring people enjoy good health into old age, promoting positive mental health, tackling cancers and preventing heart attacks and stroke.
Mrs Bellairs said: “Our job is not only to work out what the health needs are now but what the health needs will be in future.”
Mrs Bellairs managed to purge the £42m debt owed by the predecessor bodies which merged to form Western Cheshire PCT.
The strategic plan says the organisation has “recently emerged from a difficult financial period”. A small surplus of £1.6m is anticipated for 2008/09 through reducing the cost of services over the last 12 months.
The document anticipates a significant growth in “free resources” which by 2012/13 will have increased to £45m.