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NHS Foundation Trusts: Bank Services

Volume 480: debated on Thursday 16 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what deposits foundation trusts held with commercial banks in the latest period for which figures are available; (227457)

(2) whether any foundation trusts have deposits in Icelandic banks.

I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement issued on 14 October 2008, Official Report, column 38-39WS.

We have been advised by the Chairman of Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS foundation trusts) that as at 31 March 2008 the aggregated cash balances and investments of 89 NHS foundation trusts (authorised as at 31 March 2008) amounted to £2.3 billion. The cash and investment balance is broken down as follows:

£ million

Cash at commercial banks and in hand

256.6

Cash at Office of Paymaster General

1,636.8

Investments

374

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what rules govern foundation trusts depositing funds other than with the Paymaster General. (227458)

National health service foundation trusts are autonomous organisations, free from central Government control. As high performing organisations, NHS Foundation Trusts have wide discretion to invest money. The boards of NHS Foundation Trusts are responsible for ensuring that surplus cash is invested in accordance with their duty to safeguard and properly account for the use of public money. Monitor, the independent regulator, has issued best practice guidance on how NHS Foundation Trusts should mange their cash. This guidance reflects prudent practice, and is designed to promote fiscal responsibility and prudent investments that do not compromise effective, efficient and economic delivery of services.