A body set up to improve the way in which confidential patient data is handled has been scrapped by the government as part of its ‘bonfire of the quangos’.

The government has decided to abolish the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care along with 191 other public bodies.

The NIGB was set up to make sure patient data was stored and used securely by providing leadership and promoting consistent standards for information governance across health and social care.

The government said the NIGB’s statutory functions would be transferred to the Care Quality Commission, which is being retained as an inspectorate.

It said advice currently provided by the NIGB would in future be obtained from within the Department of Health or other bodies.

The NIGB was launched in 2008 following a report from Harry Cayton, its current chair, on information governance in light of the launch of the NHS Care Records Service.

Cayton recommended that a governance board should be set up to advise the DH and ministers, to provide oversight, to develop and interpret best practice, to arbitrate on the interpretation of policy, and give advice and to build public confidence in the service.

The Cabinet Office review of 901 bodies – 679 quangos and 222 other statutory bodies – included 40 related to health.

The future of nine, including the CQC, Monitor, NICE, the Health Protection Agency and the Human Tissue Authority, had already been announced as part of the Department of Health’s Arm’s Length Body review in July.

Many of the other health-related bodies included in the review are to be reconstituted as committee of experts within other bodies. These include the Committee on the Safety of Devices and the Independent Review Panel on the Advertising of Medicines.

The Review Body on Doctors and Dentists Remuneration and the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards have been retained on impartiality grounds, the DH said.

The changes to the advisory non-departmental public bodies will be in place from 2012. The DH said the changes previously announced to arm’s length bodies could take longer, but should all be in place by 2013-14.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said the changes continued the DH’s work to increase the accountability and transparency of public services, while ensuring advisory mechanisms were fit for purpose.

He added: “The bodies who provide essential independent advice to the department will continue to do so but they will be streamlined and made more accountable so that they operate in the most cost effective way.”