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An AIDS charity has accused the NHS of 'incompetence at every level' following delays in allocating this year's funding.

Manchester health authority and Salford and Trafford HA have not made this year's allocation to George House Trust and, despite funding it on a short-term basis, will not confirm whether funding will remain at current levels.

George House Trust director John Nicholson blamed 'a combination of incompetence at every level and the fact that HIV is off the policy agenda' for the delays.

Regional allocations of AIDS and HIV funding were not announced centrally until two weeks into the financial year.

Mr Nicholson said: 'It is bloody appalling and I would call it a breach of public administration. But there is no reason why the HAs cannot issue the contracts at this point.'

A spokesperson for Manchester HA said increasing use of drug therapies had left it facing a shortfall of up to£1.5m for AIDS and HIV services this year.

Salford and Trafford HA chief executive Dr Ian Greatorex said it was 'reviewing its position' and would examine services across Greater Manchester for the future.