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District Health Authorities (Medical Representation)

Volume 981: debated on Monday 17 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to ensure that medical representation on the new district health authorities to be created in England under the present Health Services Bill will not be confined to one doctors' organisation, that smaller organisations are not ignored, and that all sections of the profession, irrespective of status and seniority, are given full recognition.

The provisions of paragraph 2 of schedule 5 to the National Health Service Act 1977, in respect of appointments to area health authorities, will apply equally to district health authorities, if established. The Act requires consultations with, among others, representatives of medical practitioners; in practice, the appointing authorities—regional health authorities—consult the royal colleges and faculties representing the medical profession, together with the British Medical Association and the Overseas Doctors Association. The views of local organisations, such as medical advisory committees and the local medical committees, may also be sought.Medical members are appointed in this way for the personal knowledge and expertise they can bring to the health authority's deliberations and not as representatives of medical staff. As we said in our consultation paper "Patients First", the Government do not believe that it would be appropriate to have formally elected staff representatives on district health authorities. I am satisfied that the existing consultation arrangements work well and enable regional health authorities to appoint members drawn from a wide range of medical interests.