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Health bills to be made public
3:10pm Thursday 4th November 2010 in News
ALL primary care health trusts must publish the totals of every invoice of more than £25,000 as a way of bolstering openness in public spending.
But while the total billing amount appears on NHS Warrington’s website, a detailed breakdown and a description of what the cash was used to buy can only be revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request, which means a response to just one of hundreds of invoices could take up to 20 days to process.
The Department of Health made the decision to post the results online as a way of improving transparency in the spending of taxpayers’ money.
A spokesman said: “As part of its ongoing drive to make Government more accountable and more transparent than ever before the Prime Minster made the commitment in May that from November all departments and public bodies would publish spending transactions over £25,000.”
In September, NHS Warrington paid the north west specialised services commissioning team, which helps advise on how best to invest public money, £2,223,332.
The Warrington Guardian has submitted a FOI request to gain more details about what the money was used for and is awaiting the results.
In addition the invoices revealed that the PCT paid Warrington Wolves £36,836 in one month for the services it runs at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, which include dermatology and physiotherapy.
GPs from across the borough were able to bill the trust for overheads and amounts paid out in September ranging from £25,895 to £136,050.
Contracts with other partner organisations meant the PCT paid £1,559,354 to The 5 Boroughs Partnership Foundation Trust, £91,572 to St Rocco’s Hospice and £479,600 to Warrington Borough Council’s community drugs service.
In August the PCT made a budget contribution to the council totalling £4,668,000 and a further £1,790,000 to the specialised commissioning team.
Quarter of a million pounds went to the council in July to fund nursing care and £28,325 covered out-of-hours clinical costs at a Co-op pharmacy.
A spokesman for NHS Warrington said: “NHS Warrington welcomes this decision and fully supports the drive to improve the transparency of how public funds are used.”