NHS will break-even20th February 2007
The NHS looks set to break even this year, helping ensure health secretary Patricia Hewitt keeps her promise and her job.
Official figures from the third quarter of 2006/7 show the NHS looks set to end the year with a £13m surplus, with bigger savings forecast for 2007/8.
Patricia Hewitt had taken responsibility to get the NHS into the black by the end of this financial year, hinting at resignation if this failed to happen.
Despite the good news, the figures from the Department of Health show 132 NHS organisations are heading for overspends worth £1,318m. The NHS has an annual turnover of £75bn.
This potential deficit has been addressed by channelling funds away from public health and medical training to build a £450m central fund throughout the year to cover any shortfalls. The rest of the deficit will be found from trusts which have generated £882m surpluses by underspending.
Many of the money-saving measures introduced this year have created public unease and drawn harsh criticism. There were almost 1,500 compulsory job losses throughout last year, with unions estimating a further 23,000 posts were deleted and almost 3,000 beds closed to save cash.
But NHS chief executive David Nicholson has predicted just 17 trusts will be unable to balance income and expenditure on a month-by-month basis by March.
He said accounting rules, which meant overspending trusts had less cash this year, are set to be overhauled.
Separately the Royal College of Nursing has warned that industrial action could follow if the independent pay review accepts the 1.5 per cent limit on pay increases.
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Title: NHS will break-even
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 2069
Date Added: 20th Feb 2007