As the National Health Service reaches the end of its financial year today, DoH officials are confident it has returned to surplus. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt had promised to quit if the huge organisation, which employs more than 1.3 million people in England, did not end the year with a positive financial balance. The Department of Health says the service is expected to achieve a small surplus of 13 million pounds on its vast £84 billion budget for the 2006-07 financial year. Although the final figures will not be published till June, the government says the forecast surplus demonstrates “significant improvement” in the financial position of the NHS.
These ‘positive’ forecasts are all well and good – but PRimage regard them as simply part of the NHS damage limitation exercise surrounding the recent negative media reports and comments about the financial problems within the NHS! As with many political observers, the view of Judy Viitanen and the PRimage team is that we will await the reality when the final financial figures on the NHS are published in June!