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Four arm's length bodies being abolished

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The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, the Appointments Commission, National Patient Safety Agency and Alcohol Education Research Council are being abolished, it has been announced.

The proposals are set out in a Department of Health review of arm’s length bodies in an attempt to reduce bureaucracy and help to cut administrative costs by more than 45 per cent.

Only six of the 18 have a “clear future as arm’s length bodies”, the review says. These include:

Other organisations are being abolished, merged, or having functions transferred into other bodies.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Human Tissue Authority will have functions transferred “to achieve greater synergies where appropriate”.

The Health Protection Agency and the National Treatment Agency will no longer be statutory bodies, instead having their functions transferred to health secretary Andrew Lansley and the new public health service being established.

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence is being “moved out of the sector to operate on a full-cost recovery basis”.

A commercial review will be carried out to see whether the NHS Litigation Authority and NHS Business Services Authority could benefit from outsourcing, divestment and contestability and/or employee ownership.

Report of the Arm’s Length Body Review states: “Overall, these proposals will simplify the national landscape, reduce duplication and bureaucracy and better align the arm’s-length bodies sector with the rest of the health and social care system.”

The DH will discuss with the NHS Institute whether opportunities exist for “alternative commercial delivery models” such as a social enterprise.

It says, in future, the NHS commissioning board will lead on commissioning for quality improvement and the responsibility for improving outcomes will occur “at every level of the NHS.”

The government will engage on these proposals and, where necessary, bring forward necessary “legislative proposals” within this parliament.

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • It is difficult to believe that the NPSA is going. Its function has been so important in raising the profile of patient safety and providing information that actually changes practice. I think this government has lost the plot and needs to think carefully before it throws the baby out with the bathwater. There has to be some agencies with specialist knowledge and insight or we will be running around like headless chickens. This has to be seen as a direct hit to the health service - so much for ring fencing!

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  • Like Anonymous (above) I'm really surprised at the loss of the NPSA. As a ward leader it certainly makes a difference to my ward's clinical practice. It brings clarity, authority and 'separates the wheat from the chaff' that we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Shame it is going.

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  • no matter what Conning Dems say this is privatisation of the NHS by any other word .. they bang on about it being patient centred and patient led but where was the consultation with real patients and their carers ..
    NPSA for all its faults should have been given better regulatory powers .. not abolished ..

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