Public Sector NAO concern over NHS

The National Health Service in England and Wales has come under fire from National Audit Office head Sir John Bourn for declining financial management standards.

In his report to parliament, following two NAO investigations, Sir John said he was concerned about the worsening financial health of the NHS.

Commenting on the NAO’s examination of NHS summarised accounts in Wales for 1997/1998, Sir John said four of the five health authorities, and nine of what were 29 trusts, reported a deficit. The accumulated deficit for health authorities rose to #25m and to #9m for trusts.

The report also indicated that the forecast cost of clinical negligence to the NHS almost doubled last year, rising from #78m to #145m.

In his second report, Sir John said the NHS in England had lost millions of pounds in a deal to dispose of the Royal Brompton hospital’s north block in London.

The NAO said the lack of clawback measures had cost the NHS at least #6.5m, due to the increase in value of the hospital. The site gained #3.4m after planning permission was granted and a further #3.1m when the developed properties were sold.

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