HC Deb 01 February 1991 vol 184 c679W
Mr. Hinchliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) on how many occasions over the last five years the finances of Wakefield health authority have been examined by his Department's director of audit;

(2) if he will direct the Audit Commission to conduct an inquiry into the financial management of Wakefield health authority;

(3) on how many occasions over the past five years his Department's director of audit has drawn matters of concern regarding the financial management of Wakefield health authority to the attention of (a) the Yorkshire regional health authority, (b) the Wakefield health authority and (c) other bodies; and what were the matters in question in each instance.

Mr. Dorrell

[holding answer 31 January 1991]: In common with the arrangements for all health authorities, staff of the Department's director of audit will have made the necessary visits to Wakefield health authority in order to carry out the statutory audit of its annual accounts entailing related examination of its financial systems and procedures.

Matters arising from audits are routinely raised with local management although auditors at their discretion may include subjects in their audit reports which are directed to the Secretary of State for Health but on which resolution is delegated to regional health authorities, who are expected to ensure that remedial action is taken in liaison with the Department.

During the last five years the audit reports on the Wakefield health authority included one such item recommending the complete vacation and disposal of a hospital site which had already been closed for patient care. The Yorkshire regional health authority was involved in resolving this matter.

Responsibility for the statutory audit of the national health service now lies with the Audit Commission. It is for the Audit Commission itself to decide what inquiries are appropriate.