Health and Social Care Information Centre to be set up

A Health and Social Care Information Centre will come into
operation in April this year, John Reid announced today,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The centre will co-ordinate information requirements across
health and social care and reduce burdens on NHS frontline
The HSCIC will take on functions previously carried out by the NHS
Information Authority and the Department of Health. Closing down
the NHS Information Authority and transferring its functions to the
HSCIC and National Programme for IT has reduced operating costs by
£40 million.

The plan emerged as the health secretary announced that the
Department of Health had made savings of more than £150
million as part of its review of Arms Length Bodies.

“In November 2004, we made a commitment to reduce the ALB
budget by £100m by April this year,” said Reid. “I
am pleased to report that the ALB budgets for 2005-6 will reduce
Department of Health funding for them by more than

The ALB change programme is part of a wider programme to cut
bureaucracy in the management of the NHS and improve efficiency.
The DH claims the move is to reduce the burden on the frontline and
free up more resources for the delivery of frontline services to

Reid confirmed that the number of ALBs will be reduced from38 to
34 in April and by April 2006, there will be 24.

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