Published: 30/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5962 Page 6

Finance directors say they are being unfairly blamed for the financial problems in many trusts.

Managers in Partnership, the new union for managers, said they were being treated as a scapegoat for policy failures.

'Our members are worried about the failure to acknowledge the problems associated with the sprint-like pace and the detail of reform, ' said chief executive Jon Restell.

NHS Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards said: 'The department says the reforms will help deal with the deficits, and they will - in the longer term. But in the short term they are likely to increase inflationary pressures.' Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said the report showed that some NHS organisations were 'experiencing financial pressures' despite 'record increases in their budgets', but claimed that the government's reforms 'are the solution, not the problem'.

King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said 'urgent action' was needed to stop the position deteriorating further, particularly as the level of year-on year cash increases for the NHS is expected to fall.