Managers and clinicians are calling for clinical training programmes to give doctors a better understanding of finance and resource management in the NHS.
A joint statement, published today by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Audit Commission, Department of Health, Royal College of Nursing and others, says without greater involvement by clinicians in NHS financial management "progress will be slower and the outcomes poorer".
The statement is significant as it marks a departure from the prevailing view that clinicians should be not be cost conscious when making judgements about the best care for patients.
The statement says: "This is not about focusing on cost and cost alone. It is about how money can best be used to improve the quality of care, combining operational and clinical effectiveness. Efficient use of resources and good quality services go hand in hand."
To achieve this, the signatories to the statement, which include Dame Carol Black for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and David Flory for the DH, say that strategic health authorities must work with postgraduate deaneries and other training schemes to ensure financial issues are included in training programmes. Hospital trusts and primary care trusts should also make training available to their staff, it says.
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