NHS patient services hit by bad management

Poor management at the NHS is stifling its chance of improving patient services, MPs warned yesterday.

The House of Commons’ health select committee said too many local managers at primary care trusts (PCTs) failed to show the appropriate planning and analytical skills needed to implement the government’s plan for high-quality care in the NHS.

Last year a report by Lord Darzi, NHS Next Stage Review, recommended the NHS gave patients more choice. Plans included a right to chose care providers, a proposal to introduce GP-led health centres in every PCT and a guarantee that the most effective drugs would be available to all.

Darzi suggested a new workforce strategy to support the NHS, with front-line staff being given more power to initiate and lead change that improved the quality of care for patients.

But MPs yesterday expressed serious doubts that PCTs were ready to take forward the review. Health committee chairman Kevin Barron said: “We remain very concerned that PCTs are not yet up to the task of putting these reforms into practice.

“Lord Darzi’s reforms must not just be the latest in a series of failures to make real change.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) expressed further concerns. Council chairman Hamish Meldrum said: “Many doctors are frustratingly aware of the poor level of support available in many PCTs particularly in commissioning new services.”

He added: “Clearly the variable management quality in PCTs, highlighted in the report, must be addressed if patients are to benefit.”

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