§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to reduce bureaucracy in the NHS; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
Excellent progress has been made in reducing unnecessary bureaucracy in the NHS in Wales, and further major initiatives are planned.
The number of health authorities has been reduced from 16 to five. Within three years, the number of staff employed by these authorities should have fallen by nearly a third. On the basis of the latest estimates from health authorities, this reduction should release £10 million per year for spending on direct patient care.269W
This saving will be in addition to the £12.5 million transferred from management costs to patient care over the financial years 1994–95, 1995–96 and 1996–97 as called for in "Caring for the Future".
We have also cut the burden of form filling on the NHS. Since 1993–94, successive reviews have reduced the number of forms used by the Welsh Office to collect information from the NHS from over 100 to about 60. These reviews also resulted in significant cuts in the size of many of the remaining forms.
More broadly, action is already being taken to implement the "Patients not Paper" initiative to reduce the burden of bureaucracy on GP practices and other parts of the primary care sector.
In addition, the Dpearmtent is currently consulting on how best to implement in Wales the recommendations of the comparable efficiency scrutiny of burdens on health authorities and NHS trusts, "Seeing the Woods, Sparing the Trees". An announcement on the action to be taken on this will be made in the autumn.