A new report suggests that the NHS is getting better at managing its money, better at handling fraud, and better at forecasting its likely medical negligence liability.The findings come in a report by the National Audit Office on accounts for 1999-2000 covering the financial activities of the health authorities and trusts in England which together in that year spent 68 billion pounds.
The NAO is unhappy that more trusts and health authorities reported a large deficit in that year, although content that they were forecasting being able to bring these into control in the following year.
One factor involved is that the NHS was at the time just getting used to funding rounds of three years and coming to the end of the first of these new cycles.
The NAO study reveals that at the end of March 2001 NHS organisations were investigating 484 cases of suspected frauds with a total estimated value of some 18 million pounds, compared with 239 cases with an estimated value of 14 million pounds at the end of March 2000.
The report also shows a continued increase in clinical negligence claims, with the net present value of known and anticipated claims at the end of March 2000 at 3.9 billion pounds, an increase of 0.7 billion from the previous year.
The NHS is praised for beginning to add a contingency – of 1.3 billion pounds – within this sum for incidents incurred but not yet reported.