Consultants' leader Paddy Ross has launched a stinging attack on the government's management of the internal market reforms. He said he had never known relations between government and the medical profession to be so bad. This was not due to party politics but to ministers' management style, he added. He said that consultants ought to have a veto on their hospitals' bids for trust status.
'Managers don't see patients and managers don't take referrals, and really it is not up to managers to decide, ' he said.
Junior doctors leading the campaign for a shorter working week launched a petition urging doctors to take strike action. They said it was 'a demonstration against the government but also a message to the British Medical Association', which ought to be 'fighting much, much harder against these sorts of hours'.
A commission to review London's health services is to be set up by the King's Fund.
The initiative has been prompted by concerns among managers and chairs of London health authorities about the lack of co-ordinated planning across the capital, heightened by financial crises and the likely impact of the internal market. The commission will look at whether a hospital should close to reduce the capital's bed numbers, but it will not pick a contender for the axe.
The proportion of qualified accountants in the NHS is falling at a time when the health service's financial management will not improve without better-quality finance staff, the Commons public accounts committee has warned. The NHS is short of about 250 qualified accountants, which represents a national shortfall of 8 per cent, according to the Department of Health. The Department of Health said the government had allocated£60m this year to improve the finance function.