PRimage recall that only three or four years ago the NHS was overspending and in serious financial trouble. So Judy Viitanen was interested to read reports this morning that NHS under spend has triggered calls for more money to be put into frontline services and care. PRimage would support this view – as would the vast majority of patients and frontline healthcare professionals, we are sure. It appears that during this tough economic climate the NHS has amassed a record cash surplus of £1.7bn. The under spend represents a rapid turnaround in health finances: three years ago, the organisation recorded a £500m deficit. It’s good news that NHS finances are back in the black. And one must applaud the current Health Secretary, Alan Johnson: these figures are in sharp contrast to the state of the NHS finances of his predecessor, Patricia Hewitt who, PRimage recalls, was slow handclapped at a nurses’ conference during a debate about NHS debt problems!! However, reading comments made by the Commons public accounts committee (PAC) yesterday, it would seem that these large NHS reserves constitute a different form of political embarrassment. News sources report the comments from Edward Leigh, chairman of the PAC: “It’s not the case that the bigger a surplus the better” …. “Patients lose out if too much NHS funding is sitting unspent in bank accounts.” PRimage understands that the cash came from a number of sources, including a fall in the price of generic medicines and the underuse of contingency funds. Savings were also made by changing the habit of trusts spending their entire budget at the end of each year. The PAC report comments that this scenario was “regardless of whether it was in the most appropriate fashion”.