Ministers blamed for NHS deficits

Click to follow

In a stinging attack on government incompetence, a Labour-led committee of MPs said the Department of Health must share the blame for the poor management that has led to record deficits in the NHS.

Some hospitals would be in debt for more than five years, the Health Select Committee warned. The MPs said the NHS, "has veered from one priority to the next as the political focus has changed." They added that the Government's estimated costs of its Agenda for Change reforms and the new GP and consultant contracts were "hopelessly unrealistic".

The MPs say many of the biggest deficits, "are associated with the extraordinary growth in staff costs arising from pay rises and the large increase in staff numbers.

"The pay rises have far exceeded the Department's estimates and the numbers of new staff are far higher even than the figures proposed in the NHS Plan."

Their report says the growth in staff costs, "points to serious underlying failures in the financial management of the NHS, which have occurred at all levels of the organisation, from the Department of Health to primary care trusts".

The MPs also accuse the Government of "concentrating on targets with too little concern for finance".