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Department Of Health: Public Appointments

Volume 590: debated on Wednesday 17 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:When they intend to publish details of the public appointments made by the Department of Health; and whether that department has kept its commitment to increase the involvement of members of the local community on NHS boards. [HL2268]

A report with details of all public appointments made to bodies sponsored by the Department of Health is published today. It contains details of 3,794 individuals appointed to 586 bodies at 1 March 1998. It relates to chairs and non-executives in National Health Service trust and health authority boards, members of Executive Non-Department Public Bodies (NDPBs) and for the first time, contains details of those who serve on the 41 Advisory NDPBs which give specialist technical and professional advice to the department.Of those people named in the report, around 1,000 have been appointed by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health since 1 May 1997, predominantly to NHS trusts and Executive NDPBs.All these appointments have been made on merit to the exacting procedures laid down by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, which ensure an open and transparent process and encourage people from all walks of life to come forward.We have honoured the Government's commitment to increase the local accountability of NHS boards, by publicly advertising posts and by seeking nominations from local authorities and Members of Parliament. We have appointed people who live within the local community wherever possible and have substantially increased the participation of women and people from ethnic minorities. In the year to 1 May 1998, 36 per cent. of chairs, and 52 per cent. of non-executives appointed were women and 9 per cent. of appointees were drawn from the ethnic minority population.We have significantly changed the make-up of NHS trust boards to reflect the abolition of the internal market and the new local partnership which we expect NHS trusts to develop. Of those people appointed since 1 May 1997, over 30 per cent.—the largest single group—are NHS users, carers or voluntary workers.We intend to maintain this progress and are currently in the process of appointing around 300 people to serve on health authority boards. When completed, details of these new appointments will be placed in the Library and published on the Internet. Copies of the Department of Health Public Appointments Annual Report 1998 are available in the Library.