Report uncovers £28m NHS budget fiasco

Published: Tuesday 30th April 13

A joint local authority scrutiny review has criticised the NHS for failing to hold individuals to account for the large-scale financial mismanagement at a south London primary care trust.

In a report of its findings published yesterday (Monday), the joint scrutiny committee called for the NHS to identify and take necessary action against those responsible for the £28m misreporting of finances at Croydon Primary Care Trust in 2010/11.

The review was conducted by six local authorities in south-west London. Croydon Council, along with Kingston, Merton, Richmond, Sutton and Wandsworth, formed a joint health overview and scrutiny committee (JHOSC) in September 2012 to investigate how the accounts had been misstated by at least £28m.

When they were first signed off in June 2011, the accounts reported a £5.54m surplus, but the true figure was a deficit of more than £22m.

The six councils felt that a £1m, NHS London-commissioned report into the fiasco did not provide proper public accountability for what had happened and did not hold any individuals responsible

The leader of Wandsworth Council Ravi Govindia added: "This inquiry has shone a light on a deeply troubling picture of financial mismanagement within the NHS.

"It also poses some very uncomfortable questions about the way in which the health service conducted its own internal investigation into these failings. There was a lack of accountability and transparency that has absolutely no place in a 21st century public service."

The review was carried out at a south-west London level because all six PCT populations were affected by what had happened. Money that could have been spent on NHS services in Wandsworth was diverted to plug the gap in Croydon PCT's finances. 

A copy of the full report is available on Croydon Council's website.

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