Committee (5th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 14th November 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Cumberlege Baroness Cumberlege Conservative 6:30 pm, 14th November 2011

I would like to support the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy. It is really rather a mixed bag of amendments that we have before us. Clearly what is proposed in the Bill is that there should be 11 members on the NHS Commissioning Board. Perhaps the most wonderful Primate-I hope that Hansard will allow me to make the change-and the right reverend Prelate will think that the number 11 has a certain resonance about it, historically and religiously. We will leave it at that.

What I wanted to address was the size of the board and what has been said about whether it should be representative or whether it should be left to the board to decide the skills and experience that it needs to act effectively. I saw in the amendments-sadly, he is not in his place at the moment-that the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, suggested having a director or a previous director of children's services on the board. I can fully understand that because the noble Earl has done so much to try to promote the well-being of children. Clearly he feels that it is a constituency that needs to be represented on the board.

Other people might think that perhaps we need a past director of adult services on the board, especially as we have an increasingly elderly population. I can think of other professions which may ask where on the board are the pharmacists, the podiatrists, the physiotherapists, the occupational therapists and the dentists. We could have a litany of people who wanted to be on the board, so we have to be very careful.