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Committee (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 14th November 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Jolly Baroness Jolly Liberal Democrat 6:15 pm, 14th November 2011

My Lords, it sounds as though there is a considerable level of agreement on this. I, too, believe that we should have a public health specialist sitting on the board. Members of the faculty have said that if there is not going to be such a specialist on the board by right, there should at least be one where the CMO is not a public health specialist. This Bill has put public health at its core and at every level.

I shall not say any more about the public health appointment but I will talk a little about the involvement of the patient. The patient is also meant to be fundamental to this Bill: "no decision about me without me." Again, we have the patient involved through local government and the local commissioning groups but not necessarily on the board. I think that whoever is chair of HealthWatch England should have a seat on the board.

What would both of these positions bring to the board? They would bring a level of expertise that nobody else has. I understand the Government's reluctance to be specific, and I know that lists are problematic. I also know that with these things there is a tendency to request that every man and his dog, or all and sundry, sit around the board table. However, it is a board table and not a representative council, so I would put those two people there for one distinct reason: they add a dimension that the board does not know it misses. Decisions made without them will be made in a vacuum and will be all the poorer for it. Somebody put it to me earlier today-your Lordships will have to excuse me for this-that the board knows what it knows, it knows what it does not know, and it does not know what it does not know.