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Nhs Bureaucracy

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria his Department will use to measure the savings achieved from the elimination of excess NHS bureaucracy; and by what date he expects to achieve his target for these savings. [16663]

The Government are committed to reducing National Health Service bureaucracy. As a first step, we are tackling the worst features of the internal market and reducing NHS management costs in Great Britain by £100 million in 1997–98. The NHS Executive has set targets for 1997–98 with every health authority and trust in England to reduce their management costs.The NHS Executive calculates the costs of managing the NHS using two measures: health authority costs; and trust management costs. Health authority costs are monitored quarterly through regional offices. Where there is significant deviation from plan, it is for the NHS Executive regional offices to negotiate recovery plans for those health authorities concerned. Trusts report their management costs in their annual accounts. It is for the regional offices to ensure that trusts are taking the necessary steps to deliver the savings by the end of the year. Current information indicates that both health authorities and trusts are on target to achieve their 1997–98 plans by the end of the year.We will shortly be announcing further actions to reduce NHS bureaucracy linked to functional and structural change, as part of our plans to replace the internal market.