Health and Social Care Bill

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Mr. Denham: It is certainly possible that the non-executive director chosen by the patients forum would be a member of the patients forum. There are superficial attractions in the idea that the board member is a delegate from the forum, as opposed to a corporate member of the trust board. However, it becomes difficult to see how the board can operate corporately in practice, and what different legal and fiduciary duties will fall on different members of the board in those different circumstances. It is hard to see a way through that to produce the delegate type of structure. It is for that reason that we envisage them being full members of the board.

It should be widely recognised as a significant step forward that there will be, for the first time, a route to a trust board, through a patient-focused organisation. That has never happened before. It may not solve all the problems, but it is part of an important pattern of patient representation that we are developing.

Dr. Naysmith: Is it envisaged that the patients forum can remove a director of whom it disapproves?

Mr. Denham: We shall clearly have to consider how those procedures work. I would not want to have a system of instant recall by the patients forum, for fear of producing problems. There will be an appointment procedure, but perhaps not necessarily the right to automatic reappointment after a term has been served.

Dr. Brand: The Minister clearly recognises that there is a problem. There are two ways of solving it, one of which is to have a member of the patients forum being a voice, with rights to speak, but without taking on the corporate responsibilities of being a board member of a trust. The alternative would be to have the trust board membership set aside for a nominee chosen by the patients forum but who will not be a member of it. The Government's proposals create a difficult conflict of interest, but clearly it is not a matter that will be resolved this evening. We shall come back to it on Report, so I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 13, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned—[Mr. Jamieson.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-seven minutes past Seven o'clock till Thursday 1 February at half-past Nine o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Madel, Sir David (Chairman)
Bailey, Mr.
Bradshaw, Dr.
Brand, Mr.
Burns, Mr.
Burstow, Mr.
Denham, Mr.
Fitzsimmons, Lorna
Hammond, Mr.
Hutton, Mr.
Jamieson, Mr.
Mountford, Kali
Naysmith, Dr.
Prosser, Mr.
Stewart, Mr. Ian
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Young, Sir George

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