The commissioner for public appointments has called for greater openness about the political affiliation of public appointees in the NHS.

The Department of Health published its annual report on public appointments this week, highlighting the numbers of women and non-executives with ethnic minority backgrounds on 1 April. But the 300-page analysis of 3,443 appointments to 527 NHS bodies gives no breakdown of political activity.

Dame Rennie Fritchie told HSJ, 'in the interests of transparency, and given the public interest, it would have been helpful if these figures had been summarised, as for equal opportunities. '

In March this year the commissioner recommended the government review the appointment process following allegations that last year's figures showed political bias in Labour's favour.

This year's report shows no significant change (see box).

In April next year a new independent appointments commission will take over responsibility for NHS appointments. NHS Confederation policy director Andrew Foster said this 'should take the accusation of politicisation out of all this. '