NHS finances in surplus – but room to improve

The NHS has improved its financial efficiency but there is still plenty of
room for improvement, according to auditors, with London’s finances under the

The Audit Commission has found a handful of NHS and Primary Care Trusts that
have failed to meet minimum standards under the two separate measurement regimes

Eight of 152 PCTs failed to meet minimum standards in one or more parts of
their assessment under new Use of Resource (UoR) rules.

Nine NHS Trusts faield to meet minimum standards for Auditors’ Local
Evaluation, seven of which were in London.

The two assessments are the financial elements of the Care Quality
Commission’s annual health check.

A further six NHS Trusts and one PCT failed to achieve financial balance in
2008/2009 – with Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals NHS Trust in deficit
to the tune of nearly £36m.

The NHS reported a surplus of £174bn last year, which is about 2% of NHS

Andy McKeon, the Audit Commission’s MD of health, said: “These are
financially uncertain times and with an expected budgetary squeeze on the
horizon it’s reassuring that most NHS trusts and PCTs have got better at
managing their money. But the detail also shows that there is room for
improvement, particularly if future pressures to maintain quality of service and
improve productivity are to be met.

“There is also a handful of hospitals that must act urgently to reach minimum
standards in the way they budget and spend, but the overall financial picture
for the NHS in England shows a year-on-year improvement.”

Further reading:

Former NHS finance chief struck off by ACCA

Profile: Paul Humphreys, FD at Care UK

Colin Gentile, FD of St George’s
NHS trust

Related reading