§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to satisfy herself(a) regarding the proper financial management of the West Midlands health authority and (b) that proper accountability procedures are in place.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
We have proposed, and are consulting on, the introduction of a code of conduct for the NHS which will make explicit the standards of conduct expected of those in the most senior positions in the NHS and provide a basis for setting standards for their staff. The NHS Management Executive, which is responsible for ensuring that there is a strong accountability and management framework at all levels of the NHS, has taken a number of steps to strengthen financial management across the NHS. These include guidance on the role of the director of finance; revisions to standing orders, standing financial instructions and financial directions. Measures are also being taken to strengthen internal audit.
In West Midlands regional health authority the new board has taken a range of measures to strengthen financial management and accountability procedures within the region. These actions have been closely monitored by the NHS Management Executive.