Ambulance service for Northamptonshire had to take out a loan to pay staff wages

A cash-strapped ambulance service has had to borrow money from the Government to pay basic monthly expenses.

East Midlands Ambulance Service is in millions of of pounds of debt and is forecast to post a large deficit at the end of the year.

It has now emerged that this year it has had to borrow money so that staff can receive their monthly wage.

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Although the money is from the Department of Health it will need to be eventually paid back.

But it also illustrates the perilous state of the ambulance service’s finances.

Richard Wheeler, director of finance said: “We are not unique in seeing demand increase and many other organisations within the wider health system are in a similar financial position.

“To help us fund the day to day operations of our service we have secured a revenue loan with the Department of Health.”

Nationally the NHS has to save £22 billion this year.

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However, EMAS blamed its financial problems on an “unavoidable” increase in costs such as recruiting more than 300 new frontline staff since April 2015.

Delays in handing over patients to hospital teams have also proved expensive as paramedics have to be paid overtime while extra crews are also needed to cover them.

Mr Wheeler said: “In addition to our work to create greater efficiencies at EMAS, we will continue to work with commissioners and other NHS partners to tackle the challenges that impact on our finances.

“The government spending review recently announced more money for the NHS because it is recognised that this national issue needs further support. We look forward to seeing how that will help us at EMAS.”