Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Government Stealing From NHS Charities

This story in the Mail is doing the rounds this morning:

"Ministers have been accused of planning to seize control of £2billion in assets managed by hospital charities.

Critics called the move a secret plan to slash NHS spending. More than £300million handed over every year in donations to children's hospitals and cancer charities could be 'nationalised'.

Under new rules coming into force in April, hospitals will have to list the income and assets from their charitable arms on their main balance sheet.

There are fears that this will see donations to health charities subsumed into the general health budget, which already faces huge strains due to Britain's soaring budget deficit."

What I find interesting about this is that I've already seen it happen. When an old lady in my village passed away a couple of years ago, leaving no family members - she bequeathed her entire estate to the local cottage hospital that had cared for her during her final months. However, because of a technicality - she had left the money to the hospital, rather than the hospital's charitable fund - the Department of Health swooped in and claimed the money for itself, to incorporate into the central NHS budget. It took over a year to rectify the situation, even with the support of a local Conservative MP and the media.

The fact that the Department of Health now looks to be making this sort of money grab a more commonplace occurrence is very worrying indeed.

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