NHS woes mean more consultants

Consultants have picked up more work from the financial woes faced by the
NHS, by helping the Audit Commission to produce a review of the NHS accounting

The Audit Commission is undertaking the review, with consulting services from

An Audit Commission spokesman said PwC would ‘contribute to, not author’ the
report. He added that presentation of the review to secretary of state for
health Patricia Hewitt, which will put NHS accounting professionals under the
microscope, would happen at the end of July.

Its terms of reference include examining the quality of financial reporting
to boards and the information made available to them, looking at the role and
work of internal audit and the financial reporting regime’s transparency.

In a separate development, a rare public disagreement emerged this week
between the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee over the NHS
IT scheme, one of the largest consulting projects doled out by the government in
recent years.

PAC chairman Edward Leigh accused the NAO of watering down its report into
the scheme, and the Department of Health of ‘fighting street by street and block
by block with the NAO’ over the report on the £12bn ‘Connecting for health’ IT

NAO comptroller and auditor general Sir John Bourn and his then deputy Chris
Shapcott, now auditor general for Wales, denied watering down the critical
report in the face of DoH pressure. ‘I don’t think they ground us down. You
could say we ground them down,’ Sir John responded.

Acting NHS chief executive Sir Iain Carruthers denied Accenture had lost
£250m on its role in the development of the IT system, saying the DoH had taken
a tough line with IT suppliers.

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