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NHS London warns of Olympic Games funding gap

By Lilian Anekwe

NHS London has warned it will be unable to meet the cost of providing healthcare during the 2012 Olympic Games if the Department of Health does not share the multi-million pound bill.

Minutes from the latest NHS London board meeting show the SHA has flagged a potential £40m shortfall from the Games, if the DH fails to meet any additional cost ‘as previously expected' – leaving NHS Newham and NHS Haringey in the lurch.

‘There is a risk that NHS care in London will be compromised if the additional costs to the London NHS of hosting the games is not met by DH as previously expected and any shortfall needs to be met with SHA funds,' the minutes warn. 'The consequence would be the opportunity cost of lack of resources available for other aspects of NHS care in London.'

At the meeting Azara Mukhtar, deputy director of finance at NHS London, ‘advised the committee that additional funding was not going to be forthcoming to support the commitment to offer free healthcare for those participating in the 2012 Olympics.'

'There were, therefore, concerns about how to resolve the cost and resource implications without diverting funding from services for Londoners.'

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said ‘discussions for future funding are continuing'.