NHS Enfield to cut its £755,000 voluntary sector spend

Primary care trust says it can no longer afford to fund discretionary services by local north London charities

NHS trust to cut sector spending
NHS trust to cut sector spending

The primary care trust NHS Enfield will cut all of its £755,000 discretionary spending on voluntary sector services from next year.

Service-level agreements were first made with voluntary sector organisations in 2007/08 and were rolled forward in subsequent years. But a statement from NHS North Central London, of which NHS Enfield is part, says this funding, totalling £755,293, will be cut from April.

A spokeswoman for NHS North Central London said it would still be spending money on the voluntary sector for statutory services but was unable to confirm how much that would be.

Age UK Enfield said it would lose about £148,000 in funding. Other groups believed to be losing funding, including Mind in Enfield, the Enfield Mental Health Users Group and the Greek & Greek Cypriot Community of Enfield, did not respond to calls from Third Sector.

Tony Seagroatt, chief executive of Age UK Enfield, said the sum was about 10 per cent of its total funding, but he did not know what the full implications of the cuts would be because he only found out about them this week. But he said the cuts would affect three of its local services and hundreds of beneficiaries.

"We’ve got six months before it will come into effect, but we might have to make redundancies, depending on what we can find," he said.

Seagroatt said the cuts were short-sighted because the money had funded preventive work, and without it people might develop health issues at younger ages.

Sarah Thompson, NHS North Central London Borough director for Enfield, said it would honour the discretionary spend for 2011/12, but that it could not commit such resources to the voluntary sector in the future.

"We have given them six months’ notice that this will not continue next year to give them time to seek alternative funding or to find cheaper ways of delivering the services," she said.

"Sadly, the NHS in Enfield does not have the money to support these local organisations as it did in the past. My team and I will be meeting with local voluntary organisation leaders to work with them to understand the impact of this decision on the services they provide."

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