The Treasury has announced that it will delay for a second year the consolidation of the accounts of about 30 of the largest NHS charities into those of NHS trusts that are their sole trustee.
The move, prompted by new international accounting regulations, comes after protests from the Charity Commission, which argued that consolidation would be "wholly inappropriate".
Several MPs have expressed concern that it could lead to charitable donations being used for non-charitable expenditure, making up for shortfalls in NHS budgets.The measure will now be introduced in April 2011.
"We had previously put consolidation back for a year to look at this problem," said a spokeswoman for the Treasury. "We will delay the consolidation for another year to give us time to work on a long-term solution."
She said the delay would "enable a review of the NHS charities in the context of the government accounting framework".
Phil Hope, minister for care services at the Department of Health, who had asked for a delay in the introduction of the new rules, welcomed the decision.
"It is vital that we fully understand the impact these changes could have on NHS charities and, in particular, to ensure that their continued independence is protected," he said. "People can continue to donate to the charity of their choice, safe in the knowledge that their generous donations will be used in the way they intended."