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Analysis: Every effort is being made to clear the debt

I think there is a heartfelt effort from the NHS Commissioning Board to ensure CCGs start with no inherited deficits.

Before 2012, in many instances the PCT dug themselves out of financial trouble. But sometimes they were bailed out by the SHAs, which held reserves built up by top-slicing PCT budgets.  

The Operating Framework did say that any debts incurred after April 2012 would be taken on by the CCG and there will be PCTs still in deficit. However, the five that Pulse discovered is far fewer than was previously the case in the NHS.

As the NHS is reporting a surplus nationally, I hope any pre-existing debts are written off so that all CCGs start off with a clean slate. That would be the ideal scenario.

The reserves are more complicated. They should be held as a risk pool for distribution for CCGs, but with first call on those for the CCGs that generated them.

Dr David Jenner is a senior policy adviser at the NHS Alliance and a GP in Cullompton, Devon