Your news focus (page 10, 22 April) about the financial difficulties faced by Leeds mental health services does not convey the full story of how the deficit has occurred.
The major reason is, without doubt, the removal of infrastructure costs from the large mental illness hospital in advance of its closure. An additional factor was the joint decision of the trust and health authority some years ago to commit non-recurrent revenue to mental health service developments, mainly involving the appointment of permanent clinical staff.
These staff were urgently needed to provide an effective service. This decision relied on an HA commitment to provide recurrent funding at a later date. This has not yet been provided.
The article implies the trust has made little progress with the re-provision of mental health services. Over the past seven years we have delivered eight schemes which have resettled 120 people in community-based accommodation and provided 95 day-hospital places. Two of these schemes were residential and day-care units for elderly people, and both were delivered through full private finance initiative solutions - the first PFI deals in the country to become operational providing inpatient care. The trust has also closed the old learning disability hospital in Leeds and now has one of the best services for people with learning disabilities in the country.
To infer a lack of financial control by the trust is misleading. Every year since becoming a trust in 1993 we have met the financial target set for us.
Leeds Community and Mental Health Services trust