Nine health related quangos have survived the government’s leaked review intact, and will not be merged, abolished, or reconstituted.
But yesterday’s announcement, which followed a Cabinet Office led review, did not include the full list of bodies whose futures have been considered.
Nine out of the 40 advisory non-departmental public bodies in healthcare have already featured in the arms length body (ALB) review, published in July.
And nine—or 11 if you count the National Research Ethics Service and the National Clinical Assessment Service, which are part of the National Patient Safety Agency—that appeared in the ALB review did not appear in yesterday’s list.
A Department of Health spokesman clarified: “The nine already mentioned from the previous ALB review are there because they are also executive non-departmental public bodies or ALBs which is what the ALB review looked at.”
“If you are looking at totals, there were 40 listed yesterday, 9 are also ALBs and we listed 18 under the ALB review so if you subtract 9 from the total you get 49,” he said.
The review, which was carried out to boost the transparency and accountability of public services and cut costs, examined the committees, groups and panels which provide expert advice to Government.
The survivors included the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards, the Commission on Human Medicines, Monitor, the NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration.
The changes announced yesterday will be in place from 2012. Changes to previously announced [ALBs] may take longer, but all are expected to be in place by 2013/14, the Department of Health said in a statement.
Several NDPBs will have their status changed to that of a committee of experts in a bid to preserve the independent expert advice given to the Department, said the statement.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations will be reconstituted as a Department of Health/Public Health Service committee of experts as will the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Today’s changes continue our work to increase the accountability and transparency of public services, as well as ensuring that the advisory mechanisms we have are fit for purpose.
The bodies who provide essential independent advice to the department will continue to do so, but they will be streamlined and made more accountable so that they operate in the most cost effective way.”
Geoff Martin of pressure group Health Emergency said “It's easy to grab a few headlines by knocking off a bunch of soft targets but these bodies are small fry compared to the corporate greed-merchants making a killing out of the NHS and who the government plan to hand even more work to through their ill-conceived health White Paper.”
Nigel Edwards acting head of the NHS Confederation commented: “There is no doubt that many of the bodies being abolished have performed valuable technical, leadership and administrative roles during their time. The task now is to ensure that the skills developed by the people working with these bodies, as well as their expertise and organisational memory, are retained for the good of the health service.”