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NHS performance data to be revealed

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is set to reveal the NHS has broken even when she unveils figures showing its financial performance over the past year.

But the data is expected to show some trusts are still failing to balance their books.

Government figures for the third quarter of 2006-07, released in February, found the total debt owed by NHS organisations was slowly increasing.

The forecast gross deficit for 2006-07 was £1.32bn, up from a £1.18bn deficit forecast three months earlier.

To offset the debt and create a small surplus, regional health bosses have been building up cash reserves.

They have top-sliced Primary Care Trust budgets by £1.14bn, and £450m has also been held back from training and public health budgets.

February's report showed that 35% of NHS organisations were still forecasting deficits.

But, due to moving money around and making savings, the NHS is expected to record a small surplus today.

In 2005-06, the health service recorded a £547m deficit.

However, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said that Labour has gone for "indiscriminate cuts".

He added: "Cutting education and training and plundering public health budgets is not the way to manage the future of our NHS. No other business would be run on boom and bust and neither should the health service.

"The NHS has been financially mismanaged by Labour to such an extent that services are being restricted."

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Department of Health