Managers Blamed for Crises in NHS Trusts
THE NHS's most serious financial crises have been caused by management failures, an independent watchdog says today.
A report by the Audit Commission blames "inadequate" leadership for the worst problems.
They have often taken their "eye off the ball" during mergers or large building projects, while doctors have become "disengaged" from the budgeting process.
The commission's findings were based on 25 public interest reportsprepared by auditors in 2005-6.
The NHS Trusts, Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities covered by the reports had deficits totalling pounds 174m in the previous year.
The commission identified a trend for an "inadequate calibre of leadership, particularly in the key posts of chief executive and finance director".
Management often only finalised budgets after the financial year began, and included "significant unidentified savings, coupled with vague or heroic assumptions about the achievability of savings".
These savings usually had "little credibility, even within the organisation".
Cost cutting programmes to head off financial problems early were also half-hearted, and relied on "short term fixes", says the report. …