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NHS accountants accused of accounting ‘alchemy’

23 May 2016

The unnamed finance director told Radio 4’s Today programme that trusts have made ‘accountancy adjustments’, including reclassifying capital budgets as revenue, claiming for five quarters (15 months) worth of VAT rebates and reviewing accounting policies. The figure was below the £2.8 billion deficit prediction.
At the same time NHS Providers, which speak for most trusts, said rapid action was needed or patient care would suffer.
But a Department of Health spokesman said: “We are committed to the NHS and are investing £10 billion in its own plan for the future, and it is vital that money is accounted for consistently.
“The transfer from capital to revenue makes no difference to the overall departmental picture given Parliament has voted to approve it – to say otherwise is misleading. Our financial statements will be audited by the independent national audit office.
“We recognise parts of the NHS are under pressure as demand rises due to our ageing population, but we are providing intensive support to improve performance, boost efficiency and reduce the use of expensive agency staff.”

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