Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Allowed to Spend £1.75Bn Surplus

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Allowed to Spend £1.75Bn Surplus

Article excerpt

The NHS will be allowed to spend this year's projected £1.75bn surplus 'in a planned way', its finance director has revealed.

The 2009/10 NHS Operating Framework is set to give the NHS permission to dip into the surplus to fund medium-term investments - marking a substantial change from last years guidance, which required strategic health authorities and primary care trusts to carry any surplus forward.

NHS director of finance Bob Alexander told the CIPFA health finance conference on October 16 that NHS funding was likely to be maintained at current levéis, in line with the pledge made earlier this month by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. 1I expect the growth for next year to be of the same order of magnitude as this year and I expect that in 2010/11,' he told delegates.

'I do think we will start to access the NHS surplus and draw it down in a planned way,' he added. It should be used 'to sustain the investments we think we need' to meet health minister Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review.

Alexander also expected 'a concentrated focus on further drives for efficiency'.

But the NHS finance chief said the operating framework, due to be published at the end of the month, would be delayed until after the chancellor's Pre-Budget Report. …

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