The Audit Commission and Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have issued a guide to finance for hospital doctors, saying it is “essential” they understand how money works in the NHS.

The guide comes as the NHS prepares for a slow down in the growth of its finances. The two organisations say a better understanding of financial matters amongst clinicians will both help improve efficiency in the NHS but also achieve better outcomes for patients.

Steve Bundred, chief executive of the Audit Commission, said: “We don’t need doctors to be accountants, but I’ve no doubt we can drive greater efficiency to benefit patients if doctors become more familiar with how the money works.”We all know that most NHS doctors do a fantastic job but we cannot ignore the fact that the NHS is a £100 billion organisation and it is the doctors who dictate where the cash goes.”

Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Professor Dame Carol Black said: “It is essential that doctors, who are responsible for spending money when caring for their patients, understand and engage with the way that money is spent. This really useful guide shows how the quality of care can be improved when doctors and finance specialists work together with a common aim and a united approach.”