Health Secretary John Reid has announced the dissolution of the NHS University (NHSU), as part of the timetable of changes intended to cut back "Arm's Length Bodies" (see July newsletter
). A new NHS Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation will take over the role of both the NHSU and NHS Modernisation Agency, with total staffing levels falling from 1500 to 300. The university was set up in autumn 2003 for the purpose of teaching individuals entering or returning to healthcare employment, as well as current NHS staff. Commenting on the move, John Reid said: "This is a vital step in the NHS's long-term programme of reform to improve efficiency and reduce bureaucracy"
, whilst NHSU chair Barbara Stephens said: "NHSU has been fully operational for only a year, and the reasons for setting it up, the objectives it set itself and the ways of working it espoused still hold and are still important. The board hopes that these will be carried forward into the new organisation"
(see BBC news report
). The new NHS Genetics Education and Development Centre in Birmingham, which was set up earlier this year to educate NHS staff about genetics and the role it plays in modern healthcare and which is affliated to the NHSU, has been funded for