To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking to encourage participation of disabled people in public appointments in the national health service. 
The Government are making every effort to encourage more disabled people to serve on national health service boards. While the overall proportion on the boards of NHS trusts, primary care trusts (PCTs) and health authorities (HAs) is lower than we would wish, considerable progress has been made in recent years, with the number on boards having risen from 29 in May 1997 to 119 today.The NHS Appointments Commission has been set the following goals and objectives in relation to the appointment of disabled people to NHS boards, to be achieved by December 2005.Goals:
Five per cent. of all those appointed to be disabled. At present, the figure is 3.4 per cent.
Three per cent. of chairs to be disabled. At present, the figure is 2.3 per cent.
Encouragement will be given to the use of "advertorials" in publications aimed at disabled people to further publicise the opportunities available.
The Appointments Commission will ensure that appropriate equal opportunities training is provided for those sitting on non-executive interview panels.
The Appointments Commission will ensure that a guaranteed interview scheme is offered to disabled people meeting the minimum criteria for appointments.
Guidance will be given to NHS trusts. HAs and PCTs on the need to make appropriate provision for any disabled board members, for example, audio loops, meeting papers in braille, use of wheel chair ramps, etc.
Targeted advertising on NHS appointments will be included in publications aimed at disabled people.
Advertisements for NHS appointments will contain the words: "applications will be welcomed regardless of gender, race, disability or sexual orientation."
Records to be maintained on disabled candidates at all stages of the appointments process, identifying proportions applying and those sifted or interviewed out etc.
This issue is currently being addressed on an interdepartmental basis.