With public monies hardly being in abundance at the moment, I read with some amusement and bewilderment, an article inThe Times about an NHS Trust that wants to spend £400,000 on a yacht. The East Yorkshire Trust, now known as NHS Hull, is proposing the expenditure to help raise standards of public health in the area. The idea is that the yacht could be used by disadvantaged young people to lead healthier lives.
NHS Hull are in a position to do this, because apparently they have a surplus of £40m.
Of course, it is easy to pour scorn on such an idea and also conjure up some amusing images of patients in hospitals unable to get rooms whilst ‘hoodies’ are learning to sail.
On a more serious note, I wondered how an NHS Trust was able to generate a surplus of £40m, – whether this was a regular occurrence on an annual basis or just happened to be for this year, and whether other Trusts also have a surplus.
There are without doubt, numerous NHS Trusts who are struggling for funding, so my immediate thought was that perhaps there should be some form of transfer system for Trusts in surplus to help fund those with deficits. However, one can imagine that were such a proposal to be forced upon NHS Trusts, they would see to it that they didn’t generate a surplus in the first place.
One other point relating to this unusual story was the fact that it struck me that at a time when the NHS generally is criticised for its bureaucracy and poor management, it must be some achievement for the management of Hull to generate the surplus in the first place and that maybe, particularly if this is something that they have achieved before, we should be trying to learn a thing or two from them.
Anyway, I will be watching out for more information on this.