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provisionA term which, as used in UK medical practice, corresponds to one or more legal conditions/provisos written into a contract or financial arrangement, when a particular type of expense is anticipated but its actual and final cost is uncertain—e.g., clinical negligence liability.
Provisions are included in contracts to comply with the accounting principle of prudence. An estimate of the likely expense is charged to the income and expenditure account—for the Department, to the Operating Cost Statement—as soon as the issue comes to light, even though a cash payout might not occur for many years, if at all. The expense is matched by a balance-sheet provision entry showing the potential liability to the organisation.