The government's proposals for a Freedom of Information Bill, outlined in the Queen's Speech last week, would compel health authorities to give reasons for particular decisions, but would not extend the compulsion to regional offices or ministers.

NHS Confederation chief executive Stephen Thornton said it supported any measure that could be used to improve public confidence in the NHS, but it would like to see alterations to a number of clauses.

These included a requirement for HAs to explain how they allocate resources between different treatments, if this information is already contained in health improvement programmes.

Other Queen's Speech measures with an impact on health include a Local Government Bill that would allow local authorities to promote health and well-being in their areas.

Also in the Queen's Speech Electoral Reform Bill - extension of the franchise to detained psychiatric patients.

Extension of the Race Relations Act - applies to the NHS and other public bodies.

Care Standards Bill - a new regulatory body for private and voluntary sector healthcare.

Government Resources and Accounts Bill - extension of resource accounting and budgeting, accounts and auditing for the whole public sector. Partnerships UK set up to facilitate private finance initiative schemes.

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