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One in three PCTs in the red last year

One in three primary care trusts ended last year in deficit, new figures show.

Final statistics for NHS spending in 2005/06 showed the health service racked up a net deficit of £547m last year.

The figure was some £35m higher than was predicted by NHS trusts before the year came to a close.

Only three Strategic Health Authorities made a surplus – North-East, North-West and Yorkshire and Humber.

The other seven lodged deficits ranging from £13.4m by East Midlands SHA to £233.6m for the East of England SHA.

Some PCTs lodged overspends of between 8 and 13 per cent as a proportion of their turnover.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator, said the debt was a small proportion of total NHS spending, but pressure to break even was affecting national and local decision making.

He said: 'There's immense pressure being put on everyone in the service to look at the bottom line before everything else – and we are seeing that in everything, from the negotiations we are having with NHS employers to education cuts at deaneries.'

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