The NHS is in its strongest financial position for many years with a fairer and more transparent system, the Secretary of State announced following the publication of end of year figures for 2006-07.
Last year (2005-06) the NHS (excluding Foundation Trusts) reported a deficit in the annual accounts of ?547 million with 33% of organisations in deficit and a gross deficit of ?1,312 million.
This year unaudited results for 2006-07 (excluding FoundationTrusts) show that, thanks to the hard work of clinical staff and management, the NHS has delivered a net surplus of over ?500 million to be invested in new drugs and future services for patients.
The proportion of all NHS organisations in deficit has reduced from 33% in 2005-06 to 22% in 2006-07, with the gross deficit still concentrated in a relatively small number of organisations.
The transformation in the NHS’s financial performance has been achieved while continuing to drive improvements for patients – waiting times have been reduced to all time lows, cancelled operations have continued to fall and the vast majority of patients spend four hours or less in A&E from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge – despite increasing demand.
In those areas with the worse financial problems, managers and clinicians have had to make difficult decisions, but there have been very few redundancies in clinical areas. Over the last 12 months, the NHS has employed 3,267more doctors, 526 more full time permanent nurses and 15,243 less administrative staff.
Patricia Hewitt said:
“I want to thank NHS staff who have worked incredibly hard to turn the NHS around while minimising the impact on patients and cutting waiting lists to their lowest level ever. It is a real tribute to staff that despite these very difficult decisions, over nine out of ten hospital patients – even more than last year – rated their care as good, very good or excellent.
“If we hadn’t taken decisive action to deal with the overspending, the NHS deficit would have doubled again this year. Instead, the NHS has a fairer and more transparent financial system than ever before. The minority of over-spenders know they have to put their own house in order instead of expecting SHA trusts to bail them out.
“The NHS is now in a strong position to make best use of the extra ?8 billion it is getting this year. This will help pay for new drugs, make waits even shorter, treat an extra 800,000 patients, perform an extra 300,000 operations, tackle hospital infections and deliver more personalised care to patients.”