The massive programme of change in the NHS and other public services will lead the public to demand 'genuine improvements' in standards, according to spending watchdogs. Launching the Audit Commission's annual report, chair Dame Helena Shovelton said the role of public audit and inspection in upholding quality would be 'even more important' as government reforms in local authorities and the NHS were put in place. And she said the commission's role would be changing as it prepared to work with the Commission for Health Improvement and primary care groups. The report says 30 per cent of English trusts and 42 per cent of Welsh trusts have cumulative debts and 'the basics of financial management still are being neglected in some instances'.

Annual Report, year ended 31 October 1998.