The official NHS regulatory body, Monitor, has sent a letter to NHS hospital managers (17 April), saying that they need to cut budgets by 7 per cent a year from 2013-4 onwards.
A typical NHS hospital with an annual turnover of £300 million will need to cut £21 million.
Health care costs generally increase faster than costs generally, because of an ageing population, longer survival by sick elderly people, and a greater number of expensive treatments; so these cuts are huge.
The Department of Health wants the NHS to cut about £50 billion over the next decade.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that “the hospital sector should be helped to downsize, and it would be more than “closing the odd ward”. He called for a shift to (cheaper) “primary and community care”.