I shall go on to say that. I have made it clear that we do not know what the decision is, which is why we need a proper inquiry by the Department into how it was taken and, more importantly, why. There is much anger about the way that the trust has behaved, and rightly so, but it is also clear that the decision to shelve the plans is, unfortunately, symptomatic of the massive financial difficulties in which trusts in Leeds and across the country have found themselves in recent years.
Estimates vary, but according to its own figures, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is seeking to reduce a deficit projected to reach £9 million by the end of the year, as part of a £30 million to £50 million deficit faced by the city as a whole. The Secretary of State for Health has obliged trusts to make savings of 2.5 per cent. each year. In an organisation with a turnover of more than £700 million, that is a considerable amount. It has led to a number of closures and cuts in the Leeds area, including ward closures and cuts of about 430 posts as part of a cost-cutting plan aimed at saving £84 million in the next three years, and has instigated a recruitment freeze.