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Trust suspends manager after waiting list fiasco continues

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 15 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:570
  1. Sally Hargreaves
  1. London

    An independent inquiry into waiting list fraud at South Manchester University Hospitals Trust, which led to last week's resignation of the trust's former chief executive, Jane Herbert, has added another name to the list. Ms Herbert deputy, Chris Povah, now chief executive of the East Cheshire NHS Trust, was suspended after the report went public on 4 March.

    The inquiry by Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority was triggered after an Audit Commission spot check in 2002. The Audit Commission's report, published last week (8 March, 517), highlighted deliberate misreporting of waiting list figures at three trusts throughout England. Investigators found that the East and North Hertfordshire Trust, the Scarborough and East Yorkshire Trust, and the South Manchester University Hospitals Trust had massaged figures regularly from April 2000 to March 2001 to bring them in line with government targets. The Audit Commission notes that the practice probably started as early as 1997.

    Government statistics, for example, show that in March 2000, 6766 patients were on the South Manchester trust's waiting list, with no patients waiting longer than 18 months. However, the inquiry by the Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority found that the true number of patients …

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