Large budget surplus for NHS28th August 2008
New figures forecast that the NHS in England will have a surplus of £1.75 billion for the current financial year.
The estimated surplus is based on data gleaned from the first three months of the financial year, say the Department of Health which has given assurances that the money will remain in the NHS and be used to fund patient care.
The figure - around 2% of the NHS budget for England - comes after a £1.66bn surplus for last year and a deficit of £547m in 2006/07.
Director general of NHS finance, performance and operations, David Flory said: "This is an excellent start to the year for the NHS. A strong financial position backed by good progress on delivery will continue to ensure high quality services for patients."
It has also emerged that the NHS is set to meet targets of no patient having to wait longer than 18 weeks from GP referral to treatment.
Opposition MPs have questioned whether the figures show that taxpayers’ money is being used most effectively.
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb also asked whether this was an example of trusts building up a surplus so that they can survive in a more competitive environment and warned that some areas of patient care were still being starved of funds.
"Ministers should focus on sorting this out rather than patting themselves on the back for allowing the NHS to bank more and more cash," he said.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said there remain hospitals whose finances are far from stable.
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Title: Large budget surplus for NHS
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 8012
Date Added: 28th Aug 2008