Health accounts must not be delayed...again

Published on: 22 June 2017

The Public Accounts Committee published 20 reports on health and social care in the previous Parliament. NHS England and the Department of Health were among our most frequent witnesses. All our reports have highlighted an increase in demand that does not keep pace with the available funding. With new treatments becoming available, there is also an upward pressure on the budget as patients and clinicians seek to benefit from medical progress.

Last year’s Departmental accounts were of serious concern. The Department chose the last day Parliament was sitting before the summer recess to publish its accounts to the House, giving MPs no time to scrutinise them. At the time I made clear to the Secretary of State for Health my concerns about the short term fixes the Department had used to keep within its allotted budget, such as the extra £417 million it received from the National Insurance Fund, but failed to inform HM Treasury. I also highlighted my concern that the timing was calculated to avoid scrutiny and to hide the true extent of the Department’s financial woes.

I remain concerned about this year’s accounts which will be laid when Parliament returns after the General Election. I have therefore written to the Health Secretary asking when the accounts will be laid.