Medicopolitical Digest

Health authority misused doctors'Health authority misused doctors'NHS issues code of practice on opennessGeneral practices should audit their nursing servicesBMA criticises increase in fees for part time medical servicesFilling public health posts at regional level

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 08 April 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:944

Health authority misused doctors'

The High Court has ruled that Manchester Family Health Services Authority (FHSA) illegally used pounds sterling250 000 intended for general practitioners. Instead of the funds being used to reimburse doctors for employing staff and improving premises the authority employed eight facilitators to help with administration and publicity.

Allowing an application for a judicial review, Mr Justice Collins said that he had not received “a totally satisfactory explanation” about the role of the facilitators after they were appointed on three year contracts in 1991. He had been told that they were connected with clinics and general health care. When Manchester Local Medical Committee (LMC) had asked whether the funds had been used to pay for the facilitators “they received a denial which was undoubtedly false.” The judge added that the money could not as a matter of law be used in the way that it was used. He refused to allow the health secretary to carry out any further inquiry. The general manager and the chairman of the FHSA at the time had resigned and there was no legal provision under which he could order repayment of the money.

Welcoming the decision, the secretary of the LMC, Dr David Shlosberg, said, “Our funds have been plundered for trendy services which had no clear purpose and which people did not want—and some of which were seemingly not delivered.” He believed that similar things were happening in other areas.

A spokesman for the Manchester Health Commission, of which the FHSA forms a part, said that he understood that the judge was only being asked …

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