The NHS has built up cash reserves of almost £4bn even as rationing has increased, the number of nurses has fallen and the service has had to make unprecedented savings, an Audit Commission report reveals.
"This would not happen if hospitals were directly run by the NHS – money could then be moved to where it is needed most, balancing the books and safeguarding patient care," said Christina McAnea, head of health at the union Unison, which represents 400,000 NHS staff.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "It is better to plan for a surplus because it gives the NHS the flexibility to respond to the unexpected."
Like being told its budget is no longer ring-fenced?
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