Department of Health’s ‘desperate’ bid to not blow spending budget

The Department of Health has sent accountancy firms into NHS organisations in what is being seen as “an act of desperation” to avoid blowing its spending limit, HSJ has been told.

Documents seen by HSJ reveal the firms will assess the accounts of 20 organisations and the potential impact on the DH’s accounts. The DH is perilously close to breaching its spending limit agreed by Parliament for 2015-16, and the review is designed to “support the health group accounts”.

One expert called the move an “act of desperation”, while an NHS finance director said it “goes against the grain of professional accounting and auditing”.

Twenty organisations will be reviewed, including provider trusts and clinical commissioning groups. Trusts and CCGs are currently in the process of closing their accounts for the year, but it is thought the work could be expanded to more organisations if it is successful.

Full story in The Health Services Journal 24 March 2016