The NAO reviewed implementation of the screening programme since introduction in 2003. It estimates that if all trusts had delivered tests for £33 each, a cost it believes is achievable, savings of £17m could have been made nationally.
Testing levels of 26% or over are thought to be required to have a significant impact on infection levels, the NAO said.
But, Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said that only half of PCTs reached this level in 2008/9, six years after the programme's launch.
‘Combined with the local inefficiencies and duplications, this shows that the delivery of the programme to date has not demonstrated value for money,' he said.