ARM'S LENGTH BODIES

Published: 24/03/2005, Volume II5, No. 5947 Page 9

The NHS 'frontline' has grabbed a£70m bonus after government cuts at the Modernisation Agency, according to junior health minister Lord Warner.

And a further£40m will return to the service as current agency projects wind up, the minister heading the efficiency drive revealed.

Meanwhile the new National Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation will act as a learning access watchdog for the NHS, identifying training and needs of staff, but will not provide courses, he insisted.

And he branded as incorrect recent comments by former NHSU director Bob Fryer that if the NHSU's learning networks, programmes and services were 'written off or abandoned', it would be a 'public scandal' and a 'sizeable political defeat' (news, page 10, March 17).

'The government is still providing people with training in the NHS.

Just because its not going to be done by a replacement body doesn't mean the job's not going to be done, ' said Lord Warner.