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Dec 1st, 2014

NHS England: they’ve published their spending!

By Amy Lockwood

NHS England – the people Jeremy Hunt put in charge of our NHS – kept promising to show us how they’re spending NHS money. They said they’d publish their receipts by 1st November, but we were left waiting.

So 38 Degrees members teamed up with transparency campaigners Spinwatch to pressure NHS England executives to open up.

All other government departments and their agencies publish monthly reports on all their spending over £25,000 – so why not NHS England? As Spinwatch say, “This was a commitment to transparency. But unlike all other government agencies, NHS England has never published details of where its money is going.”

75,000 of signed a petition calling for NHS England to publish their big spending. And they have! Just two days after Tamasin Cave, director of Spinwatch handed the petition straight to NHS England, they’ve published their spending details online. You can take a look here.

Here’s what Tamasin said: “I had been trying to get the data out of NHS England for nearly 3 months. They released it 48 hours after we delivered the petition. Thank you to the 75,000 people who were bothered by the lack of transparency and signed. The data is full of information, and I urge anyone to take a look at it. We can finally see where the money is going.”

Spinwatch have already been digging into the data, and there’s an article in the Guardian which gives loads of detail on who NHS England have been giving big chunks of NHS money to. It’s well worth a read – click here to read it. Here are some of the findings:

  • Care UK, one of the country’s biggest private health firms, received £112m from the NHS in a single year, 90% of which was for the provision of healthcare.
  • A string of controversial firms are retained by the central NHS board. Serco, admonished by MPs after it was revealed to have altered data about out-of-hours doctor services in Cornwall, was paid £10m by NHS England for providing healthcare.
  • And G4S, the troubled outsourcing firm, took £3.5m for medical services. Atos, the French IT company that ran fitness-for-work tests which ministers criticised for “quality failures”, received £2.7m last year.

Tamasin Cave, director of Spinwatch, told the Guardian: “The figures do begin to give us an accurate picture of the continuing cost of the reforms, the sums being spent on the new market in health services, and the flow of money to the private sector. In the data, there are bodies that evidently cost millions to set up just last year that don’t even exist today.”

What do you think of the NHS receipts? Is there a campaign 38 Degrees members could run? Comment below to share your thoughts and join the conversation.

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