In a probe covering a four-year period to January 2001, the National Audit Office found the trusts, including Barts and Guy’s & St Thomas’, had ‘inappropriately adjusted’ their waiting lists, affecting some 6,000 patients.
The NAO said this constituted ‘a major breach of public trust and was inconsistent with the proper conduct of public business’.
The adjustments varied in their seriousness, ranging from those made by junior staff following established, but incorrect, procedures through to deliberate manipulation or misstatement of the figures.
Following the results of the investigation, the NAO has told the Department of Health to tighten up NHS trust procedures and seek assurances that there had been no further ‘inappropriate adjustments’ at every trust.
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