NHS bosses spent less than £9,000 of a £400,000 charitable fund on patients last year.

The £8,398 figure is an improvement on spending in 2011-12, when just £218 from the Surbiton Hospital charitable fund went towards patients, compared to £7,133 on audit fees.

Kingston clinical commissioning group (CCG) batted back the Comet’s questions about which organisations had applied to use the money since last March, and which had been approved.

Conservative Councillor Mary Clark, who has campaigned for years for more transparency over the fund, said: “They don’t really know what to do with it.

"It must go out to public consultation because otherwise that account hangs in the air.”

A spokeswoman said: “Kingston CCG continues to work with all interested parties to ensure the funds are utilised in the appropriate manner in line with its governance process.

"As with any charitable fund the publicity of how it is used is limited by the restriction [on its use].”

The fund, set up in 1936, must be used “for any charitable purpose or purposes relating to the National Health Service wholly or mainly for the services provided by Surbiton Hospital.”

Grahame Snelling, chairman of Kingston Healthwatch, said: “It’s about the history of [the fund] and the principles of what it’s founded on, and what’s happened to that.

"They are legitimate questions for people to ask.”

Neither CCG governing body chairman Dr Naz Jivani, nor deputy chairman Dr Phil Moore – both trustees of the fund – were available for interview, the CCG press office said.