Watchdogs say NHS underspend was 'good use of resources'

The £1.67 billion NHS surplus in England in 2007/8 reflected good use of resources rather than a failure to deliver healthcare, according to the Audit Commission and National Audit Office.

Their joint report published today welcomes the DoH commitment that the NHS will be able to spend the surplus in future years.

It adds that the surplus was significantly higher than the £916 million originally forecast.

Just 3% of NHS organisations reported a deficit compared with 22% in 2006/7.

Capital underspend in 2007/8 was 22% (£521 million) compared with 40% in 2006/7 and 43% in 2005/6.

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