Brent Council chief damns NHS after stinging report on PCT

Brent Council chief executive Gareth Daniel has accused the NHS of “deep structural and cultural failings” following a damning report into financial mismanagement at Brent Primary Care Trust.

Daniels said the council had been left with a £6m bill for long-stay hospital and continuing care cases after the PCT passed on costs in order to balance its own books. A report by independent investigator Michael Taylor published this week found “serious and serial failings” in the PCT’s leadership that led to the financial crisis. Taylor also criticised the lack of support provided by the local strategic health authority.

Daniel said: “The report identifies clear failings of oversight by the regional NHS which contributed to the problems we faced locally. And I also wonder if a prevalent culture of fear in some parts of the NHS nationally incited local staff to adopt creative accounting measure as a way of avoiding retribution from the Department of Health.”

Brent PCT appointed a new chief executive, Mark Easton, in October 2007. He said: “The events of the last eighteen months have been painful for PCT staff, its partners and the community. Our turnaround programme has put the PCT back into financial balance, and next year there will be scope for new investment.”

However, the council remains unhappy with the turnaround plan, which aims to clear £25m in debts. Relationships at senior executive levels between the two organisations remain “fragile”, Taylor’s report said.

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