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NHS: Finances

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 17 April 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether money was taken from the budgets of Essex primary care trusts in the last financial year to balance the National Health Service financial position across the east of England; and, if so, how much money was taken. [HL2914]

Returning the National Health Service to overall financial balance has been a key priority in 2006-07. As part of the strategy to achieve this, strategic health authorities (SHAs) have top sliced resource allocations made to their primary care trusts (PCTs), thereby creating SHA reserves. The level of any contributions is based on the financial and service circumstances of individual organisations, and is always underpinned by the principle of fairness.

Top-sliced resources are held in the SHA reserves on behalf of the NHS. The SHA can use these reserves to balance the overall financial position within its area—not by physically moving money around the system to bail out individual organisations, but by setting the resources against instances of overspending by trusts and PCTs at aggregate economy level.

We have been clear that SHAs should maintain the integrity of the allocations system, with contributing PCTs being entitled to repayment of their contributions over a period which does not normally exceed the three-year allocation period. We have asked SHAs to make sure that, as far as possible, PCTs with the greatest health need are the first to be repaid. However, any repayment is dependent on affordability within the SHA economy, and is inextricably linked to the speed and stability of financial recovery in the NHS as a whole.

The table shows PCT's in Essex top-slice forecast outturn allocation at quarter 3, 2006-07.

PCT name

Q3 2006-07 PCT forecast outturn top-slice £000's

Mid Essex PCT


North East Essex PCT


South East Essex PCT


South West Essex PCT


West Essex PCT


Source: Financial monitoring returns quarter 3 2006-07