We have assumed ‘offshore accounts’ refers to any foreign bank account. The Department makes payments to foreign bank accounts as part of its normal business. Business as usual anti-fraud checks are routinely undertaken on supplier bank accounts whether foreign or within the United Kingdom to ensure we understand the purpose of the payment, that it is appropriately approved and there is evidence to demonstrate the funds are being sent to the correct accounts. If there is a lack of clarity on why a foreign bank account is being used it is queried as part of the checks.
We are bound by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 to compete new supplier contracts across the European Union, so suppliers may be based in, and therefore bank in, various different countries outside the UK.
In 2018-19 the Department paid out £969,682,486.78 in foreign payments. The majority of this related to payments for reciprocal healthcare (£822,560,432) and to the World Health Organization (£23,947,023). We do not hold any information on foreign payments made by the NHS.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have looked at all foreign payment runs made in 2018-19 for NHS England only, and the total value of payments to foreign bank accounts is £29,322,438. This excludes clinical commissioning groups, commissioning support units, and the Trust Development Agency and Monitor.