§ Mr. Maclean
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how much money is spent by the National Health Service on financial accounting at the current time and at each of central, regional, district and unit levels; and how many staff are involved;
(2) how many qualified accountants are employed by the National Health Service at each of central, regional, district and unit levels; and if he will list their qualifications.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
Information precisely as requested is not collected centrally. Statistical returns and the annual accounts submitted to our Department for 1982–83 by NHS authorities in England—excluding the Prescription Pricing Authority and the Dental Estimates Board—show that some 10,750 whole-time equivalent administrative and clerical staff of all grades were employed in finance departments whose costs amounted to some £92 million, including employers' national insurance and superannuation contributions and relevant travel and subsistence expenses. At October 1983 our Department employed about 350 whole-time equivalent staff of all grades in those finance divisions concerned mainly with NHS matters at a cost of about £5 million.
Currently all regional treasurers and, with very few exceptions, all district treasurers hold full accountancy qualifications awarded by such bodies as the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, Association of Certified Accountants, Institute of Cost and Management Accountants and Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Many of their support staff, particularly at senior level, are similarly qualified as are 24 of the DHSS staff.