'Discipline managers'. . . £9m IT contract face-saver. . .London RHAs 'should be scrapped' . . . women shortfall. . .Whittington £3m cuts

Published: 14/03/2002, Volume II2, No. 5796 Page 10

NHS managers should be made to take responsibility for their mistakes, the Commons ombudsman's committee has said.They have complained that 'insensitive or incompetent' staff tend to be 'counselled' rather than disciplined, and said: 'Managers should not be allowed to escape their past failings, particularly at a time when more of them are on time-limited contracts which may not be renewed.'

The government has pushed through a hospital computer contract worth£9m to avoid embarrassment on the eve of the general election.

It is to design a hospital information support system for City Hospital, Nottingham, which became a cause cél`ebre in the industry when two of the original bidders - the giant IT computer companies, IBM and DEC - withdrew, saying the system as specified would not work.

Two regional health authorities covering London should be scrapped to rescue services from crisis, according to the King's Fund. It says dividing the capital into North and South Thames regions would improve decisionmaking.The current four RHAs are seen as a 'stumbling block' to coherent planning, but few managers see a single pan-London authority as the answer.

Meanwhile, South West Thames RHA attracted only 12 women out of 136 applicants to be chairs of nine trusts in the region. It had hoped to attract candidates from all walks of life by advertising nationally.

Regional chair Baroness Cumberlege said: 'It takes time to change attitudes.'

The Whittington Hospital, north London, is drawing up a£3m package of cuts in an attempt to balance its books by April 1993. Jobs as well as beds are likely to be axed, with managers and medical staff among those affected.