Published: 10/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5946 Page 6

A row over proposed cuts to services in central and west London is threatened after a primary care trust revealed a massive deficit.

Kensington and Chelsea PCT revealed last month that it was looking to make£9m savings. The trust said cuts were needed because of a£5m overspend and an underlying deficit of£4m.

It is proposing that acute providers make£4.7m of savings by 200607 through changes in services. But it is feared that the PCT's main mental health provider, Central and North West London Mental Health trust, will be hardest hit.

Proposals for the trust include closing a day hospital, reducing acute inpatient ward capacity and staggering the implementation of early-intervention services. And the trust may not be able to honour a commitment to fund the upgrade of mental health inpatient and community-based accommodation in the area.

The moves were set to be discussed this week at an extraordinary joint overview and scrutiny committee meeting of Kensington and Chelsea council. In a paper submitted to the committee, Central and North West London Mental Health trust, said it had been given 'completely inadequate notice' of the expectation to make savings.

'We have met all our financial targets and yet out of the blue have been asked to make huge savings. Our situation is so tight there is no question of being able to make them, ' said chief executive Peter Carter.

It is understood that until the end of 2004 the PCT was predicting it would break even. A January report said a deficit of£2m could be expected, which had grown to£9m by the following month.

A PCT spokesman said: 'We have tried to spread the impact across all services so as to lessen the impact on any one particular service.'