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Swine flu costs “may lead to health service cuts”

6 May 2010

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New data on the cost of battling the swine flu pandemic has shown NHS health trusts could be forced to cut other services.

A report published by GP newspaper showed the average cost per trust to deal with swine flu was £340,000.

The analysis included responses from 107 PCTs from across the country.

According to the report, one in six PCTs have already cut services, or plan to do so, in order to recoup some of the costs of responding to the disease.

The data, received from the Freedom of Information request to trusts in the UK, also showed other PCTs have used contingency funds to deal with the pandemic.

Of 56 PCTs, 4% spent £500,000 or less while 9% spent more than £600,000, the figures showed.

Overall, costs ranged from £11,100 to £1.7m, and included money spent on staffing, equipment and communications.

Some costs may not have been accounted for, including redeploying some staff to deal with the pandemic.

Several trusts said they would have to recoup the costs over the next year.

Dr Richard Vautrey, Deputy Chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP Committee, told GP newspaper that individual trusts should not have had to foot the bill.

“I think a pandemic should be seen as an exceptional circumstance and a PCT should be fully supported by central government,” he said.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

NHS Swine Flu Information