In a move to reassure the public that the extra billions raised for the NHS would not disappear into a black hole, Gordon Brown announced the creation of a new ‘super auditor’ for the UK’s health service.
But the new Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection will take over the value for money work already carried out by the Audit Commission.
The Commission admitted it would be losing the value for money studies, but said that it would still keep its role as district auditor, appointing auditors to health authorities.
Sir Andrew Foster, controller of the Audit Commission, said: ‘Last year we called for the regulatory framework within the NHS to be rationalised and I look forward to working with the government and other NHS regulators to ensure there are improvements for patients and good value for taxpayers.’
But sources close to the Commission questioned whether it was a good use of public money to create a new body, particularly as the Commission for Health Improvement, which will also be swallowed up in the new regime, only came into existence 17 days before the Budget.
‘Suddenly it’s all change again,’ the source said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it was not possible to say how much the super auditor would cost to set up. ‘We are not in a position to give an estimate at the moment, it is very early days,’ she said.
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