NHS accounting slammed by watchdogs

Concerns have been raised by the National Audit Office and Audit Commission
over the quality of financial information used for NHS organisations at local
level, following worsening financial deficits in the health service.

As NHS organisations revealed over half a billion pounds of deficit for
2004-2005, the joint study into the figures found a ‘disappointing reduction in
the quality of accounts submitted for audit’ over the period, and also
questioned the ability of the NHS to meet the required timetable for faster
production of accounts.

‘There are some systemic issues that have contributed to the deterioration in
financial performance, but there also local failings,’ said Audit Commission
chief executive Steve Bundred.

He said that the impending review of the NHS financial management and
accounting regime – requested by secretary of state Patricia Hewitt – would
provide more depth on improving financial performance in the NHS.

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