The Department of Health last night named 17 NHS hospital trusts across England which are mired in debts worth hundreds of millions of pounds and cannot survive without a fundamental reorganisation.
David Nicholson, the NHS chief executive, said 12 were not creditworthy enough to be lent money from government funds to cover an accumulated deficit at the end of the financial year last month. Five were permitted to take out loans, but acknowledged they could be repaid only over “a very extended timescale”.
His announcement was the first official confirmation of a Guardian inquiry in December which found at least a dozen trusts were technically bankrupt, with no prospect of repaying debts.
NHS admits 17 trusts are mired in debt