The NHS Confederation has called for increased spending on NHS management - warning that resources in the acute sector are being outstripped by the challenges facing trusts.

The move comes as the organisation's acute committee announced a major programme of work on hospital modernisation and 20 trusts signed up to a '£4bn club' - aimed at supporting trusts' major capital developments.

Confederation policy director Nigel Edwards said: 'The acute sector has an enormous task ahead ofit. There are many pressures forcing fundamental change. '

He added: 'As with PCTs it is becoming increasingly clear that the size of the management agenda for acute trusts has grown much faster than management resources. '

The '£4bn club' is the brainchild of Mark Britnell, chief executive of University Hospitals Birmingham trust, backed by Mr Edwards and Andy Black of Durrow management consultants. It will aim to offer information about projects, experts and innovative ideas.