24 NHS trusts face financial difficulties

Eleven NHS foundation trusts are in financial difficulty, and a further 13 are at risk of getting into difficulty, David Bennett, the chief executive of the NHS regulator Monitor, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday.

national crime agency

By Civil Service World

12 Sep 2012

Bennett added that seven foundation trusts – which deliver healthcare – from the 11 currently in difficulty were identified a year ago as being at risk, whereas four were not. He also said that 21 trusts are making a loss, and that four have received rescue funding from the department. Other foundation trusts have been bailed out by strategic health authorities (SHAs) and primary care trusts, he said, adding that “there is a question whether more trusts would be in deficit without the one-off payments”.

Meanwhile David Flory, the chief executive designate of the NHS Trust Development Authority, revealed that the 2012 accounts show that SHAs across the country have built up a surplus of just over £1bn, despite the current drive for the health service to save £20bn over four years.

“A billion pounds is sitting around when services are being cut,” said PAC chair Margaret Hodge. Fiona Mactaggart MP commented that “this is already happening in a system that is centralised, and the risk of this happening in a decentralised system is greater.” Sir David Nicholson, the NHS chief, replied: “That’s true, and that’s why it’s important that there are proper arrangements in place.”

The PAC asked Nicholson to stay after the first questioning session, because the government’s response to a previous PAC report “in no way reflects the evidence that you gave us, and is extremely disappointing,” Hodge said. “If you give evidence saying you’re going to do one thing, and then in your departmental response you say you aren’t going to follow it through, it ain’t good enough.”

Nicholson replied that he was “disappointed that you don’t feel I listen to the PAC”, and said he’d always been “open and constructive.”


Share this page