Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, and the Liberal Democrats have condemned the Tories as “heartless” for starving the NHS of vital cash, after revealing Oxford’s NHS trusts paid £5,670,835 in interest on outstanding debt over the last five years.
The figures from the Department for Health and Social Care, uncovered by a Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information request, revealed that £607,404,854 worth of interest on outstanding debt was paid by NHS Trusts to the Department for Health and Social Care in the last five years.
According to calculations by the Liberal Democrats, this money could have paid for 22,000 nurses, 13,850 clinical psychologists or 6,700 consultants nationwide.
The same statistics also show that, across the country, the NHS Trusts, which service a local area or specialised function to deliver aspects of healthcare, paid almost £63m of interest on outstanding debt in 2013/2014. In 2017/2018, this dramatically rose to over £205m.
The revelation reinforces concerns from the National Audit Office which warns that “the underlying financial health in some trusts is getting worse”, despite the Government’s commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan to “reducing year-on-year the number of trusts and CCGs individually in deficit, so that all NHS organisations are in balance by 2023/24.”
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said:
"While hard-working doctors and nurses in our NHS are being forced to work with insufficient resources, it's frankly heartless that the Conservatives have starved Oxford Health NHS Trust and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust of a combined £5,670,835 over the last five years - this amount of money could have been used to pay the wages of over 200 nurses in our community.
"If the Conservatives were actually giving our hospitals the funding they need, then health trusts wouldn't be forced to run a deficit in the first place.”
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Work and Pensions added:
"Taxpayers’ money is being spent lining the Government’s coffers instead of on training more doctors and nurses. This is an absolute slap in the face to all of us that rely on the NHS.
"People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better. That is why Liberal Democrats are committed to a transformational investment in public health with a modest penny on income tax.”