Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Boards 'Fail to Scrutinise Information'

Magazine article Public Finance

NHS Boards 'Fail to Scrutinise Information'

Article excerpt

Board members on NHS trusts are 'too trusting' and fail to scrutinise information that could reveal major failures in patient care, auditors have found

According to Taking it on trust, a report from the Audit Commission published on April 29, there are significant gaps between the processes designed to safeguard against risk in hospitals, and the rigour with which they are applied.

The commission criticised members sitting on hospital and foundation trust boards for not being sufficiently prepared to challenge the information presented to them, which could be inadequate or out of date.

'In the worst cases, the assurance process had become a paper chase rather than a critical examination of the effectiveness of the trust's internal controls and risk management arrangements,' the report said.

Audit Commission chief executive Steve Bundred told Public Finance. 'In most cases, the processes were in place, but in some cases people were going through the motions in terms of applying them.

'There's a culture of trust in the NHS. What we're saying to board members is that they need to be a bit less trusting, and a bit more sceptical,' he added. …

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