The DH have announced plans to reduce the amount of data collection in the NHS in an effort to save an estimated £7.6m, by no longer collecting some information, including “local issues" such as laundry and linen statistics from NHS Foundation Trusts.

Parking and transport data from foundation trusts will also no longer need to be centrally acquired, along with non-statutory finance collections, which will now be collected by Monitor, the FT independent regulator.

The frequency of data collection on some issues, such as workforce data, will drop as it is “only needed once a year", and duplication in the areas of elective and non-elective activity levels and GP referrals will be removed.

“Some information that trusts are being asked to provide to the centre is being collected too frequently or being duplicated,” explained Health Minister Lord Warner, “while some of the information relates to local issues which the Department does not need to monitor."

“I’ve listened to the view from the frontline about the burdens they face and am committed to reducing those burdens."

The minister also promised that the new Health and Social Care Information Centre, to be created out of the NHSIA as part of the Arms Length Bodies Review, will lead to further relief from data collection.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: “By using data more intelligently, we can develop a more informed picture while reducing the number of visits and demands for information on the NHS."

“By April 2005, we will have reduced by a third in 12 months local NHS personnel tied up on data collection,” claimed Lord Warner. “So far, the burden associated with data collection has been cut by a quarter for the NHS overall, and by half for NHS Foundation Trusts."