Poor financial management by a significant minority of NHS organisations is preventing the health service as a whole from balancing its books.
A recent report from the Department of Health (Doll) revealed that 28 per cent of NHS organisations were responsible for a combined gross deficit of 760m [pounds sterling] in 2005 (three-quarters of which was incurred by only 11 per cent of organisations). The other 72 per cent delivered a total surplus of 510m [pounds sterling], leaving the NHS with a net deficit of 250m [pounds sterling].
The figures emerged after an investigation headed by Richard Douglas, the Doll's finance director, into why the service had gone into deficit for the first time in five years. It identified 62 problem health authorities and primary care trusts, noting a "growing perception within the NHS that sound financial management is seen as less important than delivery in other areas".
Fieldwork by KPMG found that the offending organisations had capabilities that were "inadequate to deal with the...