NHS Deficits Blamed on Weak Management

By Gainsbury, Sally | Public Finance, July 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

NHS Deficits Blamed on Weak Management


Gainsbury, Sally, Public Finance


Managers who 'lost their grip' were blamed this week by the Audit Commission for the financial crisis in the NHS organisations with the most serious deficits.

The commission rejected claims that trusts and strategic health authorities were under-funded or subject to unique pressures.

The watchdog's chief executive, Steve Bundred, said: 'There was nothing special about these organisations, other than that there had been a classic failure on the part of senior management within them, and very frequently on the part of boards, to get the basics of financial management right.'

The commission's report - Learning the lessons from financial failure in the NHS - analyses the 25 public interest reports issued by external auditors against the NHS trusts and SHAs with the worst deficits last year.

It finds that although organisations often blamed their predicaments on under-funding or on one-off events such as a large building project or merger, the root of their problems was weak senior management.

'Instead of taking ownership of the problem and dealing with it, they said: "Oh, it's somebody else's fault and there's nothing we can do",' said Bundred.

The commission singled out finance directors - who often took it upon themselves to find creative financial solutions' for overspending problems - for specific criticism. …

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