MORE than £200m in debt owed by the trust which runs Furness General Hospital will be wiped out following a Government announcement.

Trusts across the country will see historical debts written off to allow them to concentrate on tackling the coronavirus crisis, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said.

According to Government figures, the University Hospital of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is one the most debt-ridden in the country.

Barrow and Furness MP Simon Fell said: "It's fantastic news for trusts like ours.

"It means that they can focus on future plans without having to service huge levels of debt. The money they'll get as part of the long term plan for the NHS will now be for the NHS - not paying down Gordon Brown's PFI (Private Finance Initiative) deals."

According to South Lakes MP Tim Farron, the trust has paid back more than £4m in debts over the past three years.

Figures show UHBMT is among the most indebted trusts in country, owing £233m to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The trust's debt is the equivalent of nearly 70 per cent of its turnover.

And it is said to be carrying a planned deficit of £38.5m, according to statistics published in the Health Service Journal.

Mr Farron, said: "It should not have taken an international pandemic crisis for this to happen but it is very good news all the same."

He asked for new funding to be spent on protective equipment in hospitals and testing staff for Covid-19.

Local MP Tim Farron has claimed a campaign victory as the Government announces it will write off over £13bn of NHS debt and he has called for investment in Covid-19 testing and PPE for NHS staff.

The announcement comes after Tim revealed last year through a freedom of information request that £607,404,854 worth of interest on outstanding debt was paid by NHS Trusts to the Department for Health and Social Care in the previous five years.

Locally, Morecambe Bay NHS Trust have been forced to pay more than £4m over the past three years – money which Tim argues should have been used to fund more doctors and nurses.

Tim said: "It should not have taken an international pandemic crisis for this to happen but it is very good news all the same.

"On top of these debts were huge interest rates that robbed our local hospitals of millions of pounds every year. The money should have been spent money on frontline services.

"We have long been pushing for the Government to axe these draconian interest rates. They cost our local hospitals trust the equivalent of running an entire radiotherapy unit every three years.

"We must now ensure funding is urgently directed towards the rollout of adequate PPE and testing for NHS and social care staff.”