§ Mr. Ralph Howell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the quality of the accounting system operating within the national health service; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Sackville
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has with the approval of Her Majesty's Treasury issued directions under the National Health Service Act 1977 which establish the framework for NHS financial management and the form of the accounts. It is the responsibility of NHS bodies to implement local systems for maintaining sound financial management, which are subject to statutory audit arranged by the Audit Commission.