To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 3 November, Official Report, columns 76–77(1) if one of the two vacant posts of non-executive director only required specific skills; and if he will make a statement; (2) how many of the shortlisted applicants for the post of non-executive director of the Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals NHS Trust had audit skills; (3) how many candidates shortlisted for interviews for the post of non-executive director at the Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals NHS Trust had theappropriate skills and capacity to chair the Trust's Audit Committee and met the requirements of the job description; 
|Real growth in National Health Service total expenditure (England)|
|Year1||Gross expenditure||Net expenditure|
|Cash growth(£ million)||Real growth2(1996–97 prices) (£ million)||Real growth2(per cent.)||Cash growth (£ million)||Real growth2(1996–97 prices) (£ million)||Real growth2(per cent.)|
(4) for what reasons candidates for interview were not advised of detailed job descriptions relating to the need to have appropriate skills and to be able to chair the Trust's Audit Committee. 
The interview panel were looking for one candidate capable of chairing the trust's audit committee, and another to have responsibility for patient relations and act as a complaints convenor. Four of the eleven shortlisted applicants, ten of whom were subsequently interviewed by the panel, were judged to have the appropriate skills to chair the audit committee. All applicants received the standard job description for non-executive directors which states that non-executives may be asked to sit on the audit committee or oversee the trust's response to complaints from the public. The local advertisement for the vacancies also made it clear that one of those appointed would be expected to chair the audit committee.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 3 November, Official Report, columns 76–77, by whom and on what basis were (a) Mr. Ian MacDonald, (b) Mr. Ian Robertson and (c) Mr. Geoff Jennings selected to serve on the selection/interviewing panel for the vacant non-executive director's post at the Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals NHS Trust. 
The interview panel was recommended by the current chairman of the Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals National Health Service Trust and approved by the National Health Service Executive Regional Office.