In November 1986 the NHS Management Board announced the piloting, at six acute hospitals, of a new approach to resource management whose focus is on achieving, and demonstrating, measurable improvements in patient care through better use of all the hospital's resources. (A parallel development, not considered in this paper, is the extension of resource managment for community health services.) The full involvement of doctors and nurses in the hospitals is fundamental to the new approach and at national level the initiative is sponsored jointly by the Management Board and the Joint Consultants Committee (JCC). The term ‘resource management’ replaces ‘management budgeting’ which was applied, originally, to the project launched in four hospitals in 1983. But the change is much more than one of name.
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