§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his latest estimate of the total numbers of additional accounting staff which will be needed, and of 35W what numbers will need specific qualifications, to operate his proposals for cost comparison within the National Health Service.
§ Mr. Mellor
It is a matter for health authorities themselves to determine their staffing needs and additional needs in relation to finance activities, including costing and contracting, following the National Health Service White Paper "Working for Patients".
The National Health Service management executive has made available £9.87 million in this financial year to strengthen the finance function in health authorities, units and hospitals in support of the White Paper proposals which require strong financial management—for example, developing contracts, capital charges and self-governing hospitals. In addition, £1.66 million is being spent this year on a training programme for finance staff targeted at the new skills needed. The National Health Service management executive will be discussing future finance staff resource needs with regions at the end of the year.