NHS accounts get clean bill of health

Bourne gave an unqualified opinion on each of the 19 NHS summarised accounts for 1999/2000 and approved progress implementing new financial standards.

The combined deficit for the 99 health authorities and 377 Trusts hit £129m, more than double the previous year’s figure.

However, the NAO noted forecasts predicted a surplus of £37m next year.

The report also revealed NHS organisations were investigating 484 cases of suspected fraud, valued at £18m.

The NAO also welcomed progress achieved in implementing three new reporting standards that helped bring the NHS accounts in line with generally accepted accounting practice.

Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said: ‘I welcome improvements in financial control within the NHS and the initiatives taken to counter fraud.

‘The way forward will be to continue to improve corporate and clinical governance and to ensure that accounting for these large sums presents fully and clearly the financial position of health authorities and NHS Trusts.’

Fifty-nine of 99 health authorities reported a deficit for the year, an increase on the 48 out of 100 the previous year. One hundred and fifty of 377 Trusts reported an aggregated net deficit of £77m compared with 98 of 150 who incurred a £36m deficit in 1998/99. All but 41 Trusts met the statutory target of breaking even over a three-year period.


NAO website

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