The Department of Health paid £3.1bn in working capital loans to trusts in 2015-16, HSJ analysis of official data shows.

NHS Improvement chief executive Jim Mackey said last week that trusts asking for bailout cash had “almost become the norm” and the data shows a sharp increase in the size of loans taken out by trusts.

The DH paid put £3.12bn in working capital loans, with some trusts receiving more than £100m.

The figures show a steep rise in the amount paid out in the last quarter of the financial year, with loans totalling £1.48bn, compared with £1.6bn over the rest of the year.

The figures do not include payments made by the department to trusts in exchange for taking over underperforming organisations or sums agreed to support providers with large private finance initiative repayments.

The DH is due to publish its full accounts for 2015-16 later this month, but the information taken from publication of all DH expenditure over £25,000 gives an indication of what each trust received.

The figures do not take account of re-financing, where a trust may have taken a bailout loan in order to repay part of an existing loan, though for double counting to take place an organisation would have to have taken out two loans in the same financial year.

Ten biggest working capital loans approved by the DH, 2015-16
Trust Loan amount
Barts Health Trust £115m
King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust £84.3m
London North West Healthcare Trust £76.9m
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FT £42.0m
North Cumbria University Hosptials Trust £40.4m
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust £38m
Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust £37.3m
St George’s University Hospitals FT £36.4m
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust £35.6m
Lewisham and Greenwich Trust £35.5m