Tories call for Labour apology on wasted public health funds

The British Conservative Parties Shadow Secretary of State for Public Services, Health & Education, Tim Yeo has called on the Labour Government to apologise for wasting public funds after ministers announced plans to scrap dozens of NHS quangos.

With the health services strangled by red tape, Health Secretary John Reid is now desperately trying to slash back on his own bureaucracy by reducing the number of health quangos from 42 to 21, removing 5,000 jobs and saving £500 million for front line services.

But with Mr Reid unable to say which quangos will be axed, his Conservative Shadow said it was difficult to take the announcement seriously. Mr Yeo said: "Labour created more than half the quangos they now say they want to cull, and are reviewing bodies that are not even operational. Reid's statement is a critique of how badly Labour has managed the NHS. The quangos they created have overlapping functions and cost the taxpayer 2.5bn each year to run."

The Shadow Health and Education Secretary added: "If the Government were serious about tackling bureaucracy they would abolish their destructive targets which have bound NHS staff in red tape and distorted clinical priorities. The public feel let down."

In 1997, Labour promised to root out unnecessary administrative costs yet over the last year the number of managers and senior managers has increased at almost double the rate of nurses and triple the rate of doctors; the amount spent on administration and staff in England has increased from approximately £3 billion to £5 billion since 1997; Health Department staff being paid more than £95,000 per annum have increased by 40 per cent over the last year; and departmental administration costs have increased by £40 million since 1998.

Mr Yeo said: "We will be watching the Government closely. It would be outrageous if, in a bid for good headlines, agencies like the National Blood Authority were culled. Moreover, we will be tracking what becomes of the staff. When Ministers last announced that civil servants were being culled, it transpired that many of the jobs were transferred to quangos and others were to be found jobs in the NHS. Today, Labour has admitted how badly they have run the NHS and how much money they have wasted. Instead of bragging they should be apologising."

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