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New doubt PCTs can manage

Fresh doubt has been cast over primary care trusts' ability to manage their £40 billion budget after a survey showed two-thirds of financial directors did not work full-time.

The survey, by NOP World Health, also found three-

quarters of financial directors had no private sector experience, and did not regard it as necessary.

Four PCTs in 10 had no IT director and only one trust in the sample of 50 had a full-time person in that post.

An Audit Commission report earlier this year found one in three trusts lacked the management capacity to cope with the new GP contract.

Recruitment firm Hudson, which commissioned the NOP survey, said that PCTs had an 'impossible task' modernising the NHS when they were lacking experienced personnel.

The NHS Confederation's director of policy Nigel Edwards said management capacity was 'overstretched', and not just in IT and finance. 'This gives the lie to spurious claims that there are too many managers in the NHS,' he said.

'On specific issues, there certainly needs to be greater engagement within the NHS with the IT modernisation programme.'

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