LETTER: Misleading picture of NHS

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Your article “Local NHS is set to balance the books this year” (EH 13 February) presents a misleading picture regarding East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (“ESHT”).

You report that ESHT is forecasting a small surplus for 2014/15. This could only be achieved after receiving this year £18 million of “non-recurrent deficit funding”. Without this “bung” ESHT would report a deficit of similar magnitude, as it has over recent years.

I have seen no local publicity for the most recent Audit Commission Report in which ESHT is one of only five NHS Trusts in the country to receive “adverse” conclusions for both the past two years for its “value for money” arrangements. The Audit Commission also reported a qualified regularity opinion for NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG.

Robert Smart, former NED and Audit Chairman, ESHT

South Cliff.