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NHS Trusts: Prompt Payment

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the promptness of payments to suppliers by NHS trusts; what mechanisms are in place to monitor their performance in this regard; and if she will take steps to ensure that NHS trusts keep to contract terms in paying suppliers. [R] (113007)

In 2005-06 national health service trusts paid 78 per cent. of non NHS bills within 30 days or contract terms. This is the most recent period for which figures are available.

The Department requires NHS trusts to comply with the Confederation of British Industry’s Better Payment Practice Code (BPPC) which sets a target of paying 95 per cent. of undisputed invoices within contract terms or 30 days where no terms have been agreed.

It is the responsibility of strategic health authorities to monitor the performance of individual national health service bodies, report this performance to the Department and work with poor performing organisations to achieve and maintain a level of payment performance consistent with government accounting regulations and the Better Payment Practice Code target.