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NHS (England) Summarised Accounts 1999-2000

In a report to Parliament today, head of the National Audit Office Sir John Bourn gave the results of his annual examination of the 19 summarised accounts which cover the financial activities of the NHS in England. Sir John’s opinion on each of the 19 summarised accounts was unqualified. The report drew attention, however, to … Read more

Published:
12 Jul 2001
Report cover showing surgeons operating on a patient

Handling Clinical Negligence Claims in England

“The human and financial costs of clinical negligence are enormous. At the end of March 2000, some 23,000 claims for clinical negligence were outstanding. The net present value of known and anticipated claims at that date was £3.9 billion. Many claims have been outstanding for a long time, and the present system is a slow and inefficient way of resolving small and many medium size claims.

“The Litigation Authority and the Legal Services Commission are making improvements to the way they handle claims. Implementation of our recommendations should provide patients with improved access to remedies, speed up settlements and cut legal costs.”

Published:
3 May 2001
Report cover showing a doctor talking to an elderly patient

The Medical Assessment of Incapacity and Disability Benefits

“This has been an innovative project for the Department of Social Security, involving the outsourcing of a service which is close to the department’s core business. The Benefits Agency medical service was underachieving and operated within tight resource constraints. Outsourcing has cut costs and speeded up the processing of the work, but the Department, with SEMA Group, must concentrate on improving the quality of assessments and customer service.

“Bottlenecks and delays throughout the system for paying these benefits also need to be addressed. The aim should be to ensure that disability benefits are speedily paid to those entitled to them, as well as reducing losses to the public purse from payments to those who are no longer eligible for benefit.”

Published:
9 Mar 2001
Report cover showing doctors training staff on a dummy

Educating and Training the Future Health Professional Workforce for England

“Educating and training increased numbers of nursing, midwifery and other health professional students is a key way of overcoming the shortage of such staff in the NHS. The NHS and higher education institutions must continue working together to improve value for money, to ensure more students complete courses, to reduce the constraints on providing practical experience, and to invest in new capacity where needed. Healthcare professionals provide much of the service that patients need and expect, and a cost effective world class education and training system must be the foundation for delivering this.”

Sir Andrew Foster, the Controller of the Audit Commission, said today:

“Healthcare staff are the lifeblood of the NHS. Developing their skills and abilities is vital both to the quality of patient care and the modernisation of the NHS. We need to actively manage and plan for the training of our nurses, therapists and other staff. Everyone, from front-line staff to trust board members, must show commitment to a culture which values and expects training and learning.”

The Audit Commission’s Hidden Talents report focuses on the existing healthcare workforce and looks at how trusts can get the best value from their training and development activities. The National Audit Office’s report to Parliament, Educating and Training the Future Health Professional Workforce for England, reviews the effectiveness of arrangements between the NHS and higher education institutions for educating and training pre-registration health professional students.

The detailed findings of the two reports are set out in the attached annexes.

Published:
1 Mar 2001
Report cover showing a drawing of Falstaff

Tackling Obesity in England

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, told Parliament today that the prevalence of obesity in England had tripled over the last 20 years and continues to rise. Most adults in England are now overweight, and one in five is obese. Producing the first authoritative estimates of the costs and consequences of obesity … Read more

Published:
15 Feb 2001
Report cover showing a doctor with a container of blood

The National Blood Service

“The availability of blood is essential to the NHS and many people owe their lives to transfusions that were made possible by voluntary donations of blood. The National Blood Service has had to change the blood service from a regional to a national one, cope with the emergence of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and, at the same time, maintain supplies to hospitals of sufficient safe blood.

This process of change has been accompanied by some controversy and appeared to lose momentum at one stage. But the indications are that the Service has made good progress towards providing an effective national service.”

Published:
20 Dec 2000

Public Health Laboratory Service Board Accounts 1998-99

“The Board have assured me of the importance they place on effective internal financial controls, and they are confident that these controls have now been restored. I remain concerned, however, that these problems arose.

The lesson for other public bodies from the Board’s experiences is that, when letting and managing such a contract, potential risks need to be identified, evaluated, mitigated and managed so that the fundamental responsibilities of the Board and its Accounting Officer for the proper management of its resources can continue to be discharged.”

Published:
15 Sep 2000
Report cover

NHS (Scotland) Summarised Accounts 1998-99

Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, reported to Parliament today on the Summarised Accounts of the National Health Service in Scotland for 1998-99. The report describes the findings of the appointed auditors of the individual health bodies, discusses developments in accounting and financial control, considers the financial performance of the NHS in … Read more

Published:
4 Aug 2000
Report cover showing montage of board meeting, Charities Commission documents and accounts

Charitable Funds Associated with NHS Bodies

“I am glad to be able to provide a positive assurance that these funds are being well managed. In our report, wherever possible we have drawn out examples of good practice, as well as pointing to areas where we consider that further improvements to corporate governance and financial control arrangements could be made.”

Published:
15 Jun 2000
Report cover showing an x-ray of an artificial hip joint

Hip replacements: getting it right first time

“Hip replacement surgery is a procedure that successfully improves the lives of tens of thousands of people each year. However, the current process for introducing new hip prostheses into the NHS cannot always ensure long term effectiveness, and if a hip prosthesis performs poorly, it can have serious consequences for the patient. We have also found variations in practice between NHS trusts and between orthopaedic consultants on a range of issues such as the purchase of hip prostheses, supervision of surgery, length of patient stay in hospital, and follow-up after operation. In these and other areas, all trusts and consultants need to follow good practice for the benefit of patients. My Report also contains a list of 19 questions patients can ask in connection with their hip replacement.”

Published:
19 Apr 2000