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Trusts show financial improvement but concerns remain

23 October 2007

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Nearly a third of NHS trusts and primary care trusts (PCTs) are still in poor financial health, official figures show.

The Audit Commission’s Review of the NHS Financial Year 2006-07 found 31% of NHS trusts and PCTs – 104 of the 335 total – are failing to meet minimum requirements on the use of resources.

However, this is an improvement on the data for the year before, when 39% showed “inadequate performance”.

Nearly one in 10 of the organisations scored lowest on use of resources, but also on value for money, financial management and financial standing.

About 27% of trusts and PCTs – 91 of the total – performed well or strongly on their use of resources, up from 12% in 2005-06.

And 77% of NHS bodies balanced their finances in 2006-07, compared with 67% in 2005-06.

But the commission said it is concerned that some trusts have “little hope” of being able to get out of the red without help.

The report said: “The financial position to date in 2007-08 appears to be equally positive.

“Recent figures issued by the Department of Health show that 22 organisations are forecasting that they will fail to achieve financial balance in 2007-08, compared to 81 in 2006-07.

“The Department of Health is forecasting an aggregate surplus of £983m at the end of the financial year.”

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Audit Commission