Quango purge begins

The Government is to change the way appointments are made to health quangos in a move which will mean hundreds of Conservative appointees lose out.

The move could be the first step in the new Government's push to purge the quango state which was dramatically expanded under the Tories.

Frank Dobson, Secretary of State for Health, is to insist on new criteria for appointing the chairmen and boards of National Health Service trusts.

These are likely to include a stipulation that board members have experience of or documented interest in the health service.

One source said the objective was to get more "broadly-based" boards.

Before the general election the Labour Party was highly critical of the make-up of quangos, claiming that some decisions were made on political grounds.

At present the chairmen of trusts, who fulfil a key role, are appointed by the Secretary of State for Health.