Published: 15/07/2004, Volume II4, No. 5914 Page 3

A new Department of Health unit is to be set up to push through the conclusions of the review of arm's-length bodies in the NHS.

North Central London strategic health authority chief executive Christine Outram will head the unit from September and leave her post at the SHA.

Ms Outram said her job will be to implement the changes, 'which will be significant for staff '.

Over 20,000 staff are currently employed by the 42 arm's-length bodies that have been subject to the review, which is due to be published next week. The number of organisations could be reduced to as few as 17 when health secretary John Reid announces his final decision.

Ms Outram said she could not comment in detail on her new role, but she did reveal that her job would be to 'enhance the agenda rather than make it more difficult'.

This month HSJ revealed that the Health Development Agency will face the axe in the review, with its current work and most of its staff being subsumed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (news, pages 3-4, 1 July).

Other agencies likely to face abolition include the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, the NHS Logistics Authority and the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency.

The NHS Appointments Commission may have its remit widened across other government departments.