Medicopolitical Digest

NHS management costs have been cutBMA responds to initiatives for accident and emergency servicesNew bill will help training in general practicePRHOs spend too much time on repetitive tasks

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 22 March 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:908

NHS management costs have been cut

To counter political attacks on the growth of NHS bureaucracy, the Department of Health last week produced pre-election figures showing strong downward pressure on NHS management costs.

Over two fiscal years, 1996-7 and 1997-8, management costs will have fallen by £186m, or 10% in real terms. Together with savings of £100m from the abolition of regional health authorities and some £50m saved from streamlining the Department of Health, total cuts in management will amount to around £340m.

The health secretary, Stephen Dorrell, said: “I am determined to ensure that the rigours of efficiency which are applied to the NHS apply also to the process of management itself. The figures show how this will be achieved and demonstrate the government's commitment to bear down on management costs.”

A booklet of tables shows current and planned levels of spending by health authorities and NHS trusts on the salaries of managers, the cost of management consultancy, and salaries of staff working in corporate functions such as finance, contracting, and personnel.

The booklet points to a relationship between the cost of running a health authority and the size and characteristics of the population. Areas of significant deprivation may …

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