GHA Overspend Cause for Concern

In the financial year 2022/2023, the Pathology Department of the GHA spent a total of £4.5m on purchasing laboratory equipment, scientific apparatus, solutions/reagents, testing equipment etc, (the £4.5m did not include purchases of items separately financed by the Covid-19 Special Fund). The Principal Auditor concludes in his audit inspection of the GHA that:

“…no departmental stock control is exercised over these items of stock, in that no stores inventory records are held showing details of the receipt, location and issue/disposal of store items.” [4.3.63]
“A physical examination of stock items showed an apparent overspend in goods as the storerooms were full up and there were boxes of purchased goods left in boxes outside the location of the store.” [4.3.64]
“…a lot of the purchased items held on stock have expiry dates of which a significant amount were expiring before use.” [4.3.65]

Shadow Minister for Health, Joelle Ladislaus MP stated:

The GSD is concerned by this instance of lack of controls that can lead to waste of taxpayers’ money revealed by the Principal Auditor.  With such considerable expenditure in the health budget, there, rightfully,comes an expectation of appropriate stock control systems, inventory management and other such safeguards to minimise waste and ensure that finite resources are put to good use. Value for money is never more important than in the face of massive debt, such as that which the current Government has accrued over the past 12 years. We have often been misquoted by Government as championing cuts to the health budget, which would in turn impact the level of service that the GHA could provide, simply for the sake of saving. This is simply untrue. What we cannot condone is the apparent waste and misuse of public funds, which results in expenditure not being used for the benefit ofservice users.

Rather than purchasing items that have gone to waste in the corridors outside of the GHA’s storerooms, the funds would have been put to better use in other areas of the GHA, such as employing further staff to deal with the backlogs within the GHA’s dental department, or purchases of ambulances at an earlier date, which would have avoidedfurther expenditure now whilst we wait for the arrival of the new ambulances. In conclusion, people should be rightly concerned, as we are, over the revelation of these lack of controls to guarantee better value for money for taxpayers.