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NHS: Disclosure of Information

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 25 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what guidance he has issued to NHS trusts on holding board meetings in public; (300463)

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) foundation trusts and (b) other NHS trusts hold board meetings in public.

The conduct of national health service foundation trust board meetings is a matter for the trust.

NHS trusts and primary care trusts are expected to follow the model standing orders issued by the Department. These require board meetings to be held in public, although the press and public may be excluded when the board is considering confidential business, where publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest.

Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) has issued a Code of Governance for NHS foundation trusts. This advises directors of NHS foundation trusts to follow a policy of openness and transparency in their proceedings and decision making, unless this conflicts with a need to protect the wider interest of the public or the trust, including commercial-in-confidence matters.