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NHS faces unexpected £500m cuts, say hospitals

The NHS faces unexpected cuts of half a billion pounds which threaten frontline services, say hospitals, warning that improvements to patient safety recommended by the Francis report will be unaffordable under proposals put forward by the health service’s economic regulator.

Despite the government’s pledge to protect frontline services with real terms increases in funding, Monitor, the NHS watchdog, proposes that in the year 2014-15 hospitals be paid 4% less for operations than they were the previous year.

While hospitals were braced for a cut of about £1bn in funding, the Foundation Trust Network, which represents all 160 hospital trusts in England, calculates that Monitor is now asking for another £500m in savings – roughly £3m from each trust.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of the Foundation Trust Network, said the cuts to frontline services would be deeper than expected and questioned whether the NHS would be able to invest in much-needed changes to the way hospital services work.

Read more in The Guardian.

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