NHS has cash reserves of almost £4 billion
The NHS has stockpiled cash reserves of almost £4 billion- emphasising the disparity in the National Health Service which we posted about yesterday NHS under pressure with more trusts in the redFour per cent of the entire NHS budget – half of which was not spent in 2011-12 alone – is sitting in the bank, even as cuts have increased and the number of nurses has reduced.
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “Patients will question why as many as 61,000 posts are at risk in the NHS when there is an overall surplus of £1.6 billion.”
Dr Jennifer Dixon, director of the Nuffield Trust health think tank, said that £4 billion was a large amount for a service with a £100 billion budget to hold and the money should be spent to help patients and relieve the strain on hospitals.
NHS bodies in England achieved an underspend of £2 billion in 2011-12 alone, which contributed to the service saving just under £4 billion in “uncommitted finances”, the Audit Commission told the Guardian.
Primary care trusts (PCTs), strategic health authorities and hospital trusts between them accumulated a surplus of £1.6bn from their budgets in 2011-12, while semi-independent foundation trust hospitals underspent by a further £400m, according to the Commission’s annual report into NHS finances.
Yet despite the surplus, more than twice as many hospital trusts and PCTs were in deficit at the end of the 2011-12 financial year than the previous year – 34 compared to 15. The number of foundation trusts in the red more than tripled from six to 21, their collective deficit ballooning from £27m to £130m.
The number of NHS hospital trusts in financial trouble has risen from seven to 10, and their collective deficit increased from £102m to £177m.
The bottom line, however, shows that the NHS has succeeded in making £5.8bn of efficiency savings on the way to its target of £20bn by 2015.
Andy McKeon, the Commission’s managing director of health, said: “Overall, a combination of underspend, surpluses and non-recurrent spending in 2011/12 have given the NHS approaching £4bn in uncommitted finances, providing financial room for manoeuvre in the future.
“These savings did not materially affect the total number of frontline staff and do not appear to have resulted in any major transformation to the way care was delivered.”
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