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PCTs 'have worst cash managers'

Primary care trusts do not have the financial management skills to cope with their responsibilities, an Audit Com- mission report concludes.

Research by the spending watchdog found PCTs had among the worst managers of finance in the NHS.

It singled out 'weaknesses in the capacity and capability' at PCTs.

This was reflected in the poor quality and late submission of 2002/3 accounts in about 50 per cent of PCTs, the report found.

Some 21 PCTs failed to achieve financial balance at the end of the year, creating a deficit of £30 million.

NHS Alliance chair Dr Michael Dixon, a GP in Collumpton, Devon, said trusts had performed better than expected.

He added PCTs had to 'fire at constantly shifting targets'.

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