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NHS: Public Appointments

Volume 471: debated on Tuesday 29 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health in what circumstances he may suspend (a) a chairman and (b) a non-executive director of an NHS (i) trust or (ii) primary care trust using powers under sections 66 and 67(3) of the National Health Service Act 2006. (178627)

The Secretary of State for Health can suspend a chairman or director of a national health service trust or a chairman or member of a primary care trust, by using powers under sections 66 and 67(3) of the National Health Service Act 2006 to make an intervention order.

An intervention order under section 66 may be made if the Secretary of State considers that the trust is not performing one or more of its functions adequately or at all, or that there are significant failings in the way it is being run, and the Secretary of State is satisfied that it is appropriate for him to intervene under section 66.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statutory provisions provide him with powers to suspend an (a) chairman and (b) non-executive director of an NHS (i) trust or (ii) primary care trust other than those under sections 66 and 67(3) of the National Health Service Act 2006. (178628)

The Secretary of State has power to make regulations to provide for the tenure of office of the chairman and other members of a primary care trust (PCT), including the circumstances in which they cease to hold office or may be removed or suspended from office. The powers are contained in the National Health Service Act 2006, schedule 3, paragraph 4(l)(a).

The Secretary of State has power to make similar regulations in respect of the chairman and directors of an NHS trust, under the National Health Service Act 2006, schedule 4, paragraph 4(l)(a).

The current regulations do not generally provide power to suspend the chairman or non-officer members of PCTs, or the chairman or non-executive directors of any NHS trusts.

Suspension is required however in cases where the PCT or NHS trust concerned has been designated a care trust under section 77 of that Act, and the chairman or non-executive is a member of a local authority who has been suspended from being a member of that authority by virtue of a decision of a case tribunal under the Local Government Act 2000.

The relevant provision for suspension in such cases is (for PCTs), regulation 4(11) of the Primary Care Trusts (Membership, Procedure and Administration Arrangements) Regulations 2000. For NHS trusts the relevant provision is regulation 9(11) of the National Health Service Trusts (Membership and Procedure) Regulations 1990.