NHS Finance

10.01.19

‘Don’t cry when things go wrong’: NAO finds ‘unacceptable’ levels of financial weakness across NHS

Four in 10 NHS organisations don’t have a grip on their spending according to a damning report from the National Audit Office (NAO) which found that the number of bodies with significant financial weaknesses is unacceptably high.

The NAO has studied the financial statements of nearly 937 local health authorities, councils, and local police and fire bodies, which it reports are responsible for a total of net revenue spending every year.

Whitehall’s spending watchdog said the number of NHS bodies and local government bodies with “significant weaknesses in their arrangements for delivering value for money for taxpayers is unacceptably high and increasing.”

Auditors found that 38% of local NHS bodies in 2017-18 produced financial statements which caused them concern, up from 29% two years ago.

Whilst NHS hospital trusts reported the worst financial performances, there was an alarming drop in financial wellbeing at CCGs, with the number of poor performers more than tripling in the last two years.

The number of bodies with significant weaknesses has increased to 208, up 4%, and the NAO’s head, Sir Amyas Morse, stated he was “shocked at the persistent high level of qualified audit report at local public bodies.”

“A qualification is a judgement that something is seriously wrong, but despite these continued warnings, the number of bodies receiving qualifications is trending upwards,” he said.

“Let us hear no cries of ‘where were the auditors?’ when things go wrong. The answer will be ‘they did the job, but you weren’t listening.’

“This is not good enough; local bodies need to address their weaknesses, and departments across government should ensure they are challenging local bodies to demonstrate how they are responding.”

The NAO’s warning comes in the wake of the NHS’s £20.5bn long-term plan published on Monday, which targets saving an extra 500,000 lives a year while one initiative will also see the 30 worst financially performing NHS trusts subject to new regulations from NHS Improvement.

The auditor’s report said that given increasing financial and demand pressures, local bodies must take prompt and effective action to improve performance and strengthen financial arrangements where issues have been raised.

It stated that with the proportion of bodies with insufficient plans or had significant weaknesses in their governance was not only too high, but posed a risk to public money and undermines confidence in the management of local services.

Image credit - Marbury

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS Property responds to NAO report on debt recovery

26/06/2019NHS Property responds to NAO report on debt recovery

NHS Property Services (NHSPS) have responded to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) criticising their ability to collect outstanding debt... more >
BAOMS praise HPV vaccination study

26/06/2019BAOMS praise HPV vaccination study

The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS) has welcomed new study findings from the two-year Cancer Research study in Sco... more >
NHS Property debt nearly triples in 4 years, says report

26/06/2019NHS Property debt nearly triples in 4 years, says report

A report by the National Audit Office shows that debt has tripled in NHS Property Services, with the service struggling to retrieve outstanding r... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated th... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Mid Yorks Hospitals NHS Trust: Our improvement journey

28/05/2019Mid Yorks Hospitals NHS Trust: Our improvement journey

Chief executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Martin Barkley, writes for NHE to guide us through his trust’s improvement journey. It’s arguably a hackneyed phrase in the NHS, but Mid Yorkshire really has been on a significant journey in the last few years. Dogged by a previously problematic reputation, I believe th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >
Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

10/06/2019Helpforce to launch training programmes for NHS volunteers

Kay Fawcett OBE, clinical advisor and education lead at Helpforce, and Lynn Twinn, talent development consultant, outline the new national traini... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News