The NHS is under-managed and over-administered, says the Kings Fund

The NHS is over-administered and under-managed, the Kings Fund has warned.

Professor Ham: one of the main reasons for an increase in administration is the increase in regulation of the NHS by bodies such as Monitor.
Professor Ham: one of the main reasons for an increase in administration is the increase in regulation of the NHS by bodies such as Monitor.

A Kings Fund report, The Future of Leadership and Management in the NHS, found 'there is no evidence that the NHS is over-managed'.

King's Fund chief executive Professor Chris Ham said: ‘We feel the NHS, in many ways, is over-administered and arguably it is under-managed, and we define what we mean by these terms in the report.’

Professor Ham said one of the main reasons for an increase in administration was the increase in regulation of the NHS, by bodies such as Monitor and the CQC. This required the employment of ‘staff right across the NHS to collect and report information up the line.'

If the government plans to cut the number of managerial roles within the NHS then it also needs to reduce regulation, Professor Ham argued.

‘Lets revisit targets, we haven’t found a good basis for those targets and we think they are pretty arbitrary,’ he said.

The report also emphasised the importance of valuing good managers within the NHS. ‘They will be critically important at the front line to help us deliver that £20bn and to build on the recent improvements in performance,’ Professor Ham said.

Also speaking at the Kings Fund event, health secretary Andrew Lansley defended his decision to cut NHS manager numbers.

‘Too often in the Health Service, change is seen as a process whereby managers tell clinicians what to do. But why is this the case? It’s because people like me in government are constantly ordering them to do it,’ Mr Lansley said.

‘The government will put the right people – clinicians – in charge. We will make it clear what they need to do and how they will be held to account. And we can do everything possible to support them in this difficult role,’ Mr Lansley said.

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