Hospitals’ creative accounting eases surplus

Hospitals and primary care trusts prepaid suppliers several hundreds of
millions of pounds and hid money in an effort to bring down the
National Health
(NHS)’s surplus for last year in line with the forecast £1.8bn.

Senior NHS managers said that, without such action, the declared NHS surplus
for England in the period was likely to have been closer to £3bn, the
Financial Times reports.

The money is in addition to £2bn of cash in the bank, which the foundation
trusts are expected to hold while generating their own surplus, probably of

The apparent lower NHS surplus is said to have two motives – avoiding the
political embarrassment of a huge surplus of about £3bn two years after
recording a £571m deficit; and to reduce the risk of a cash-strapped Treasury
clawing the money back.

Further reading:

the Financial Times story

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