Every health trust in the UK has been asked to state how quickly it pays its suppliers by a business organisation eager to discover whether its members are being kept waiting.

The Forum of Private Business has sent a freedom of information request to more than 700 trusts and councils to see if they pay suppliers within 10 days.

In a bid to soften the recession’s impact on small businesses, the government urged NHS and local councils to pay suppliers within 10 days last year. Recent figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills showed the Ministry of Defence largely met that target and paid more than 97 per cent of its June bills within the allotted time.

The Forum of Private Business said small companies are more likely to work for a health body or council than a government department, and it intends to name and shame organisations that consistently fail, and draw attention to those that pay within 10 days.

FPB policy representative Matt Goodman said: “We believe that our requests under the Freedom of Information Act will paint a telling picture of how long small businesses across the UK are waiting for their local health trusts or councils to settle their bills.”