One of the worst-kept secrets of the last few months has been that the much-despised resource accounting and budgeting system, which penalised trusts twice for their deficits, would be scrapped at the end of the financial year.

One of the worst-kept secrets of the last few months has been that the much-despised resource accounting and budgeting system, which penalised trusts twice for their deficits, would be scrapped at the end of the financial year.

So the Department of Health's announcement yesterday that RAB would not apply next year, and that 28 acute trusts would get a 'RAB rebate' as a result, is equally welcome and unsurprising (click here for.news story).

Managers still have to wait and see on the subject of the death of top-slicing - they were promised the end of money transfers last year, only for many primary care trusts to find their coffers plundered anyway. But the health secretary is confident that the challenge of a more open and transparent system will be met by managers willing to take on the responsibility that comes with that. Ms Hewitt's view is that the system is fixed, so there can now be no excuse for lax management.

The old system did not cause the examples of mismanagement highlighted by the recent Commons public accounts committee, but it did not sufficiently reward and support those who were trying to manage well. The health secretary has publicly thanked managers this week via HSJ (click here for news analysis) - but she was far more critical earlier in the year when they really needed her support. As Simon Stevens and John Appleby's separate analyses of the DoH's Explaining NHS Deficits document, financial management skills played a relatively small part.

Regardless, this is an important week for the NHS. When some of the flashier policy initiatives of Patricia Hewitt's predecessors, and indeed her boss, have been forgotten, the changes to the financial system brought about during her time will prove a lasting legacy.