Around 30 health-related quangos (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations) are to be scrapped, according to a Cabinet Office document leaked to the BBC.

Government plans to abolish 177 quangos altogether, merge another 124 and retain 338 – with 56 of these undergoing “substantial reform” – are revealed in a letter to Ministers from Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, dated August 26, which was leaked to the BBC’s Politics Show last week. The future of a further 94 such organisations is still undecided, the letter adds.

The scrapping, reform or merger of nine health quangos has already been announced, following the Department of Health (DoH) review of its arm’s-length bodies (ALBs) at the end of July. These include the Appointments Commission, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, the Health Protection Agency, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Tissue Authority, the National Patient Safety Agency and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

According to the newly-leaked list, other health quangos which are set for abolition include the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances, the Advisory Group on Hepatitis, the Expert Advisory Group on HIV/AIDS, the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee, the Human Genetics Commission, the Independent Review Panel for the Classification of Borderline Products, the Independent Review Panel on the Advertising of Medicines and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

350 quangos overall are to be retained and these include, in the health care area, the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards, the Advisory Group on Military Medicine, the British Pharmocopoeia Commission, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the Commission on Human Medicines, Monitor and the NHS Pay Review Body, among others.

The DoH review had already concluded that the Health and Social Care Information Centre, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) should be retained.

The Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS white paper published by the government in July sets out proposals for the future of a number of these bodies, as part of its plans to: - establish an independent NHS Board; - expand Monitor’s role so that it becomes an economic regulator; - strengthen and streamline the CQC as a quality inspectorate; - expand the role of NICE to develop quality standards for social care and put it on a firmer statutory footing; - put the Health and Social Care Information centre on a firmer statutory footing; and - create a new Public Health Service within the DoH.