Short cuts

Published: 31/01/2002, Volume II2, No. 5790 Page 8

National Assembly loans handed to trusts and health authorities in Wales before the end of the last financial year will not have to be repaid, according to Welsh health minister Jane Hutt.The move is being made as the service faces a new funding formula and begins its own restructuring.Ms Hutt said: 'In practice this means that if a trust had debts of£7m and they had been required to pay that back over seven years, that would have meant£1,35m repaid each year.Now that money will be available for patient care in each of the seven years.'The announcement affects all loans issued to NHS Wales trusts and health authorities before 31 March 2001.But Ms Hutt added: 'I must stress that it is absolutely essential that NHS Wales bodies - health authorities and in future local health boards and NHS trusts - accept the discipline of living within their budget.'