NHS funds sit idle in bank accounts

September 11, 2007 2:00 PM

The Liberal Democrats have revealed that the NHS has underspent by almost £1billion this year as vital health services are cut and community hospitals threatened with closure.

The NHS's own figures predict that that underspends within the health service will increase from £500 million last year to £980 million in 2007/08. Much of the underspend is to be found in Strategic Health Authority budgets, even while some of their Primary Care Trusts which provide the health services suffer budget deficits and cuts.

Lib Dem MP for Cambridge which is one of the areas suffering from health cuts, David Howarth, commented:

"Public money is sitting in bank accounts while health services are cut. Yorkshire and Humber SHA has managed to underspend by 25% of its entire budget. This is simply extraordinary; underspends mean that health services are not being delivered to the level we expect.

"This is a classic example of Labour throwing money at a problem without a plan to improve services. Labour's 'investment' in the health service is simply sitting in bank accounts. This isn't real investment for our patients but the cuts in health services in areas like Cambridge are real."

David Howarth MP in the House of Commons

David Howarth MP

The Department of Health this year required the NHS to generate a net underspend of a minimum of £250 million.

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