The influential British Association of Medical Managers has ceased trading, just days before its annual conference.
Delegates to the three day conference in Brighton this week got emails on Friday telling them it was cancelled. They had paid around £1,000 for the conference - which was due to be addressed by NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson - and many had also booked accommodation in the city.
Callers to the BAMM office in Stockport over the weekend got an answer phone message saying the company was in receivership. But chief executive Jenny Simpson said that was incorrect and the board had decided to temporarily cease trading “with the utmost and heartfelt regret” while it examined its options.
Professor Simpson said the financial situation in the NHS meant the future for the organisation was very uncertain.
She said: “It is very difficult to run an organisation on the periphery of the NHS when the income streams are very uncertain.
“There was a big income stream which we thought was certain that failed.
“People are very good at saying clinical leadership is important but it is often the budget that has been trimmed.”
She said the organisation was looking into how refunds for the conference could be sorted out, but she was unable to say what, if any, were the extent of its debts.
Professor Simpson, who was made an OBE in 2000 for services to medical management in the NHS, said the problem was not BAMM’s product - its courses are regarded as “gold standard” - but the financial situation in the NHS.
The decision to cease trading was made last Friday at a board meeting. A further meeting will take place on 17 June, to review the situation.
BAMM was set up in 1991, initially as a charity, and runs a number of training courses and events throughout the year for its 1,200 members. It had long argued for clinicians to become more involved in management and to be given better training; it ran a programme called Fit to Lead and described itself as “a leader in the provision of leadership and management training for clinical managers”.
It was aiming to become a faculty of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. It employs 10 people.