From April 2010, changes in the accounting rules will require all NHS charity donations to be listed on a hospital’s balance sheet and included as part of the institution’s overall budgets. These new rules have been criticised by the Charities Commission, who are concerned that the cash could be used to hide cuts in health spending. They also believe that combining the two sources of money could reduce the autonomy of charities and cut donations.

In the fi rst six months of 2008, about £330m was given to NHS charities. Critics have suggested that, from April, such donations would effectively be in the hands of the Government, not the charities themselves. Under the previous legislation which introduced the NHS, ministers were banned from counting charitable donations towards the central NHS budget. This looks set to change as the Treasury has agreed to implement International Accounting Standard (IAS) 27. A spokesman from the Department of Health has insisted that trustees of NHS charities would still maintain control of the money and be able to spend it without Government interference.