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Independents' Day

NHS funds 'badly managed'

Basic failures in financial management have contributed to the budget crisis in the NHS, a report by a committee of MPs has concluded.

The hard-hitting report by the Health Select Committee said Government estimates of the costs of new GP and consultant contracts and Agenda for Change had been 'hopelessly unrealistic'.

Targets such as the four-hour accident and emergency wait had been imposed 'without regard to cost'.

The report also attacked strategic health authorities for cutting training budgets in

order to get back to financial balance.

Many English PCTs' recovery plans were branded unsatisfactory as they encouraged a focus on short term measures which might further destabilise finances and not be in the long term interests of the NHS.

MPs concluded: 'The most

basic errors have been made; there are too many examples

of poor financial information, inadequate monitoring and an absence of financial control'.

Dr Stewart Drage, GPC negotiator, said the report supported the BMA's demands for evidence-based policies.

He said: 'The way it comes out is that short-termism is the only way for PCTs to survive

because they've not been able to think beyond the next budget statement.'

Raids on training cash would hit the next three to five years of quality service provision, Dr Drage added.

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