SIGNIFICANT SHORTS : Savings on bureaucracy frees care money in NHS

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The Independent Online
Hospital trusts are on target to free more than pounds 100m for extra clinical care, through efficiency savings aimed at excessive red tape and bureaucracy in the NHS, Stephen Dorrell, the Secretary of State for Health, said yesterday. But the announcement was marred by criticism from hospital managers, who say that the drive to cut administrative costs has compromised patient care in many parts of the country, while the health care unions said that the target of 5 per cent cuts set for this financial year could only be achieved at the expense of clinical excellence.

Mr Dorrell, for whom reducing bureaucracy in the NHS has become something of a personal crusade, rejected the claims. He said in addition to savings of pounds 103m he was predicting - a cut in real terms of 8 per cent - health authorities would this year also reduce their administration costs by pounds 39m. Liz Hunt

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