NHS told to put finances ahead of medicine

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt is expected to call for the NHS to put
financial management at the head of its agenda, ahead of clinical objectives.

Hewitt is expected to say that that financial management must have a higher
priority than clinical objectives in a bid to clear financial deficits crippling
the health service.

But as part of a new regime, health trusts will be paid through performance.

She will issue the ‘business arrangements’ manual explaining how NHS finances
should be controlled for 2006/2007 on Thursday, according to The

At the weekend, details of restructuring at the top of the Department of
Health emerged. Finance director Richard Douglas became directly accountable to
NHS chief executive Sir Nigel Crisp.

John Bacon, director of delivery who oversaw financial management, heads up a
team to handle changes to the health service in London.

Last week Accountancy Age revealed that KPMG had been called to
investigate the dire financial straits of 81 NHS trusts, primary care trusts and
strategic health authorities; a figure described as ‘worrying’ by Conservative
shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley.

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