PracticeAuditBills pile high as NHS fails to pay suppliers

Bills pile high as NHS fails to pay suppliers

Health services delay paying suppliers as they try to balance the books before year-end

The National Health Service is taking extreme measures
of delaying payments and cutting supply orders in a desperate attempt to balance
its books.

Trade associations whose members are linked to the NHS supply chains,
providing everything from servicing of scanners to diagnostic tests, reported
the health service’s approach to cut costs.

Director-general of the British
Healthcare Trades Association
, Ray Hodgkinson, told the FT that
while the picture was highly variable, ‘some of our members are having real
trouble getting money out of NHS trusts’.

Several traders had standing orders stipulating that bills be paid within 30
days.

‘But some are not paying for 60 or 90 days and even longer,’ said Hodgkinson.
‘They are in breach of their standing orders, and for a lot of our members who
are small businesses this is creating problems with cashflow. There is no doubt
there is slow payment on a significant scale… NHS chief executives are telling
us that they must balance their books at all costs.’

British In-Vitro Diagnostics
Association
, whose members provide diagnostics supplies and tests, also
noted several invoices that were not paid and orders were not closed until the
start of the new financial year (in April).

The Association of British Healthcare Industries – suppliers of latex gloves
and high-technology life support machines – have witnessed the impact of bigger
items on capital spending.

Further reading:

NHS London seeks new finance director

NHS finances: A breakdown of trusts

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