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NHS: Billing

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 169W, on NHS: finance, what proportion of undisputed invoices for goods and services (a) were paid and (b) were not paid by NHS trusts within contract terms or within 10 days where no terms had been agreed since 31 October 2008. (249806)

National health service prompt payments to suppliers’ performance information, is collected on a quarterly and on an annual basis against a 30 day target.

The latest information available is for the period 1 April 2008 to 30 September 2008. For this period NHS trusts recorded an 84.5 per cent. achievement against the 30 day payment target for non-NHS payments leaving 15.5 per cent. outside of the target. This compares to an achievement over the first two quarters of 2007-08 of 82.6 per cent., an improvement over the whole year.

David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive, wrote to all NHS Trust Chief Executives on 21 October asking them to examine and review existing payment practices and payment performance and to move as closely as possible to the 10-day payment commitment that has been set for Government Departments wherever practical. Bill Moyes, Executive Chair, Monitor, has written similarly to all foundation trusts.

However we do not currently collect performance data of total NHS bills paid within 10 days because no specific requirement has yet been placed on NHS bodies to meet this target.