NHS Wiltshire will finish its days with a debt of almost £9 million, which will be written off by the Strategic Health Authority.

The health body is due to be abolished in March next year and replaced by a county Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

NHS Wiltshire was formed five years ago, following the merger of Kennet and North Wiltshire, West Wiltshire and South Wiltshire PCTs, and was saddled with debts from its predecessors.

In a report to NHS Wiltshire’s board last week, deputy finance director Karen Johnson said the PCT had been paying back the historic debt.

In 2009, the amount of debt was £27 million, but by this week that debt level had been reduced to £16.9 million.

The PCT expects to pay back half of that figure by March 2013, leaving the remaining debt of £8.79 million, which, Mrs Johnson said, the SHA had agreed to write off.

Health Minister Simon Burns said in the House of Commons on March 27, the day before the PCT board meeting, that PCTs must clear historic debts before they are abolished.

The Wiltshire Times asked the SHA why NHS Wiltshire’s debt was being written off and had it sought ministerial approval to take that action.

A SHA spokesman responded: "The SHA continues to work with all PCTs and aspirant CCGs to develop medium-term financial plans that ensure financial control and balance is maintained, to prevent a PCT ending 2012/13 in a deficit position and therefore ensuring that all CCGs start 2013/14 with a clean slate.

"The PCT had an agreed repayment schedule, but, as the organisation ceases to exist on March 31, 2013, the shortfall will be absorbed by SHA reserves, without affecting any other organisation."