Three-quarters of health quangos axed

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The number of health quangos will be slashed from 40 to 10, the Department of Health announced today.

The cull will see a range of committees and regulators scrapped, merged with other bodies or absorbed into the Department of Health itself.

Nine changes have already been announced, including the abolition of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), which will have its functions transferred to a new Public Health Service.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates fertility clinics, will also see its functions transferred to other regulators.

The Human Tissue Authority will also be scrapped, with its functions passed on.

Several quangos will now be reformed as groups of experts brought in to advise the Government.

These include the Advisory Board on the Registration of Homeopathic Products, the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, the Human Genetics Commission and advisory committees on borderline substances, dangerous pathogens, hepatitis, the safety of devices and aspects of radiation and the environment.

Ten quangos will be retained. These are: the Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards, the British Pharmacopoeia Commission, the Care Quality Commission, the Commission on Human Medicines, the Independent Reconfiguration Panel, Medical Education England, Monitor, the NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Today's changes continue our work to increase the accountability and transparency of public services, as well as ensuring that the advisory mechanisms we have are fit for purpose.

"The bodies who provide essential independent advice to the Department will continue to do so, but they will be streamlined and made more accountable so that they operate in the most cost effective way.

"We will continue to support the organisations involved through this period of transition, ensuring we continue to get the highest quality independent advice from experts to inform policy decisions."