A 'myth buster' defending NHS management is to be sent to MPs, influential media figures and other key opinion leaders, the NHS Confederation has announced.

The briefing, Management in the NHS: the facts, has been written to combat 'misunderstanding and misinformation' said policy director Nigel Edwards.

He hopes the 13-page document will help combat the public's negative perception of managers. 'We spend so much time rebutting misunderstanding and misinformation about management that we thought it would be useful to have something for people to read as a kind of myth buster,' said Mr Edwards.

The document, which is to be sent to all MPs, argues that management is needed as 'the NHS has been forced to grow because the system is so much more complicated and fast moving'.

Managers are needed to ensure the challenges of reform are met, new technology is implemented and value for money is achieved, the document says. It features case studies and cites research to make clear links between good management and high-quality healthcare.

Key issues to tackle included the 'myth of hundreds of thousands of managers' and 'fat cat' salaries, said Mr Edwards.

The briefing reaffirms that managers make up 2.7 per cent of the NHS workforce - lower than the percentage in other sectors - and that contrary to popular belief there are not more managers than beds.

Also, management costs are falling and salaries are 'far less' than for top jobs in the private sector, it states.

Mr Edwards said: 'They are not so much fat cats when compared with organisations of a smaller size and probably less social value.'

He went on: 'Is it more efficient to have an extremely well designed system where the patient is seen once, gets diagnosed and starts their treatment, or one where they shamble through a badly designed, poorly delivered pathway of events largely at random before a decision is made? You don't need a management degree to work that out.

'I think there is a kind of anti-authoritarianism in the British character which is suspicious of management. So we are really starting some way back,' he added.

'No one intervention makes all the difference. This is such an integrated piece of mythology that it will take some shifting. There is no one thing that is going to make the difference but the idea is to keep chipping away.'