THE CHAIRMEN and directors of the trusts running most of the health service have made a "complete shambles" of their new powers to create an effective internal market, a former NHS personnel director said yesterday.
Eric Caines, who left the NHS management executive earlier this year, said the Government's health service reforms were in danger of running out of steam because trust chiefs had become side-tracked by internal squabbling and had failed to deliver promised benefits.
Professor Caines, head of health service management studies at Nottingham University, used his address to the NHS Trust Federation annual conference in Torquay to make a blistering attack on their collective performance since the market-led changes were introduced two years ago.
Widely known in health service circles as an ardent advocate of local pay bargaining and the devolution of power to grassroots NHS staff, Professor Caines said: "I have to say you have made a mess of it, a complete shambles. It has been downhill all the way.
"You cannot spend all your time in futile in-fighting. You make yourselves a laughing stock. I beg you: get yourselves into some sort of shape. If you don't you will continue to lose friends and lose …