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Hunt accused of 'underhand' attempt to cover up poor DH finances by MPs

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision to publish the Department of Health’s end-of-year finances on the day before Parliament rises for summer recess ‘smacks of an underhand attempt to cover up’ its poor finances, an influential committee of GPs has said. 

The Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier wrote to the health secretary last night following the publication of the accounts, which showed that trusts ended the year with a combined deficit of £2.45bn.

The letter states: ‘I write to express dismay that you published your department’s accounts today the day the Parliament rises for summer recess.

’This does not allow MPs to consider the accounts before recess and smacks of an underhand attempt to cover up the poor state of finances in your department.’

Ms Hillier points out the PAC has regularly highlighted budget problems across health bodies and the ‘staggering’ increase in NHS trusts’ deficits.

The letter also states the Treasury was ‘not able to consider whether to reduce any funding that it had voted for your department’ as a result of the delayed notification.

The accounts were published alongside a major overhaul of NHS England financial controls to rein in the health service’s spending and ‘cut the annual trust deficit’.

It revealed that nine further CCGs have been placed in special measures – bringing the total up to 26 – based on how they had discharged their responsibilities set out in new inspection criteria.

Pulse approached the DH for comment but the letter had not yet been received by the department

Readers' comments (10)

  • Theresa where are you......................

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  • God forbid I make an honest mistake in my public service. I shall be crucified and made example of.
    But for Hunt- to mess public finance and to try to cover up- is acceptable behavior in the eyes of this government.

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  • What else would you expect from this Murky merchant of mendacity .

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  • Devious as ever not just the mandarins and the political establishment but also the media. The media should go to town on this and reveal the mess the nhs is in including the issues related to negligence damage claims.
    just a passing thought why does parliament have so many recesses and politicians get more holiday time than teachers. Wish I had their holidays.

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  • We have double standards in public life, don't we? Everything form financial or political bungling to paedophilia goes under the carpet.We stoically keep accepting what the politicians tell us because we must stand together and be a united Britain. This tolerance for misbehaviour can't go on forever. New brooms sweep well, will it apply this time with a new PM and get us rid of this chunk of ignominy.

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  • This is what happens when the top man who has zero experience in health is allowed to make it up as he goes along for years.

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  • The man can't lie straight in bed.

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  • why do you blame the messenger (Hunt) when the message (no more money, 7 day NHS, cheaper compliant work force) from collective government is clear ?

    the blame is on all politicians who voted in Lansley's 'reforms' and on all politicians who refuse to be honest to the public and are unwilling to accept that they can't afford to pay for the things they have promised. May is part of the problem ...

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  • It is a simple philosophy. Why would the DOH pay any extra if you can get doctors to work for the same money.
    Their brief is to get best value for public expenses and doctors are seen as expensive.
    Very simple, indeed.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Are people surprised of this kind of behaviour from a health secretary with such a well known 'good' reputation ?
    He is the lone gunman carrying the legacy of Lord Vader. The more he behaves in this way , the more standing-out he is as the 'precise target'. Philosophy of modern warfare is all about hitting the precise targets avoiding collateral damages . Let's see how much are you made up ,Agent Hunt? Continuous bombardment on this 'precise target' is not going to stop.......

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