The NHS continues to be in good financial health with a £1.658bn surplus for this financial year, the Department of Health (DH) announced today (6 June 2008).
However, the British Medical Association (BMA) says this surplus has been achieved partly by reducing central budgets for the training of medical staff.
The new figures relate to the NHS financial performance in January to March 2008, and looks back over the year as a whole.
The DH says the NHS will end the year with an overall surplus of £1.658bn that will stay within the NHS to improve patient care. This compares to a £515m surplus in 2006/07, and a £547m deficit in 2005/06.
Commenting on the report, David Flory, DH Director General of NHS Finance, Performance and Operations said: "We can look back on 2007/08 with pride. Our performance in 2007/08 has shown that 60 years on, the NHS is still delivering on its commitment to provide the best quality care for all.
But Dr Ian Wilson, Deputy Chairman of the BMA's Consultants Committee, says the creation of a £515m surplus for the NHS in England was achieved partly by reducing central budgets for the training of doctors and other staff.
"While the hard work of NHS staff in turning huge deficits into a surplus should be recognised, we also need to acknowledge what has been lost," he said.
"The government's insistence on making trusts deliver balanced spreadsheets at all costs has often eaten into training budgets, and limited improvements to patient care.
"In future, funding for training should be protected against further raids by cash-strapped trusts."