Government plans to cut arm’s length bodies could reduce Department of Health spending by £250m and cost 800 jobs, HSJ has estimated.

A leaked Cabinet Office list of 177 bodies to be axed - published by The Daily Telegraph - includes 17 non-departmental public bodies funded by the DH. A further 14 bodies relating to health are also to be scrapped.

HSJ calculated the cost of bodies directly funded by the DH using 2009-10 annual reports.

Many of the details, including the cutting of the Audit Commission and the Health Protection Agency, had already been made public in an arm’s length bodies review published by the DH with the white paper in July. The DH had previously estimated £180m of savings would come from the arm’s length bodies sector by 2014-15.

Some functions will be allocated elsewhere and many employees are expected to follow. But the expected savings over four years constitute 18 per cent of the annual budget of the arm’s length bodies included on the list.

If the same 18 per cent reduction was made to the 4,600 strong workforce of the 17 non-departmental public bodies funded directly by the DH, more than 800 jobs could be lost.

According to the leak six committees overseen by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which oversees 15 advisory committees, are due to be shut down. The agency listed its overall committee costs as £912,000.

An Institute for Government spokeswoman Nadine Smith said producing savings was not a numbers game: “The majority of money is spent by a small minority of arms length bodies,” she said.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “The government has made it clear that it is committed to radically increasing accountability and improving efficiency. As part of this, work is already under way to make substantial reforms to its public bodies.”