Quangowatch: A guide to those unelected quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations that run our lives: No 11: South Birmingham Health Authority

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No 11: South Birmingham Health Authority

Budget: pounds 180m

What does it do? Purchases health care on behalf of the 400,000 people in the area.

Who runs it? Bryan Stoten, a management consultant, is chairman, 'one of the few Labour-supporting health- authority chairmen in the Midlands,' said a spokesman. Non-executive directors include Les Lawrence, a Tory councillor, and Edwina Simpson, a former Tory councillor.

Who appoints them? The Secretary of State for Health, either directly or indirectly.

Scandal one: National Audit Office queried its accounts because the authority had an accumulated deficit of pounds 25m.

Scandal two: Four patients underwent unnecessary chemotherapy and surgery after being wrongly diagnosed. Compensation could run into millions of pounds.

Scandal three: Dr Brian Boughton, a consultant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, allegedly tried to stop the authority from closing a ward in nearby Selly Oak Hospital by filling his beds with patients from his waiting lists rather than from Selly Oak. Local MPs applauded him. The authority suspended him.

Accountability: No direct elections. Limited access to meetings and documents.

Write with details of quangos you feel may warrant scrutiny to Quangowatch, Independent on Sunday, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB

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