Headlines: July 29th, 1998

Bringing NHS budgets back into balance will eat into the new money for the NHS, said the NHS Confederation today.

The NHS confederation was responding to the NAO report on NHS Accounts published today which highlighted the problem of serious financial difficulties for NHS organisations. Around a quarter of health authorities and nearly 20 per cent of NHS Trusts are in serious financial difficulties.

Stephen Thornton, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: “This report demonstrates why we must be realistic about the impact of the new money for the NHS. Here is yet another first call for NHS resources. It will take hundreds of millions of pounds to bring the budgets of health authorities and NHS trusts into line.”

Mr. Thornton said he was astonished at the cost of clinical negligence. “Up to £2.3 billion potential liability for clinical negligence is astonishing, though it should be noted this is not a yearly figure but the problem stacking up. It shows the growing tendency of the public to go to the law and the potential scale of the problem for the NHS.”