§ Mr. Blunkett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will state(a) the annual budget of the Medical Audit Commission for 1991–92 and 1992–93 and (b) the main categories of its expenditure.
§ Mr. Sackville
[holding answer 29 October 1992]: The medical audit initiative, which was introduced and funded by the Government as part of the national health service reforms, is funded by the NHS Management Executive, health care directorate.
Medical audit has received a substantial investment, which remains necessary to accomplish the major transformation in professional attitudes and working practices which it entails. The sums allocated in the years in question were:
- (i) £60 million in 1991–92, and
- (ii) £42 million in 1992–93.
A capital allocation was made for two years, ending in 1991–92 for comupters and software. Family health service audit funding has been built into normal allocations from 1992–93. The same will happen to HCHS funding when it has become firmly established, except for about £10 million retained centrally to fund work by the medical royal colleges and others to establish standards of best practice.
Most of the money is spent on employing medical audit support staff, a new profession within the NHS which is already demonstrating the potential to make a major contribution to improving patient care. Funds also pay for computers and doctors' time spent organising audit and continuing medical education. The above sums do not include the cost of doctors' time—about a half clay a month—spent attending audit meetings.