Health secretary to announce health service quango cull

Around
5,000 health service quango jobs are set to be cut, releasing up to £500m to be
reinvested in frontline services.

Health
secretary John Reid is due to tell Parliament today about major cuts in health
system bureaucracy. He is expected to announce that 21 of the 42 NHS quangos
will be abolished or combined. The cash saved could be used to employ an extra
20,000 nurses.

It
was not yet clear which bodies will be axed, but Reid is expected to tell MPs
that no organisation could be ruled out of the cull.

The
5,000 posts will be cut by natural wastage or redundancy by 2008.

The
quangos – which are nominally independent, but rely on government funding –
have a combined staff of 22,000 people with budgets totalling £2.5bn.

These
job losses come on top of a planned 1,400 reduction in staff at Department of
Health headquarters.

By Mike Berry

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