Schedule 4 - Inspectorates: Boards

Human Tissue Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:10 am on 5th February 2004.

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Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Shadow Minister (Health) 9:10 am, 5th February 2004

I beg to move amendment No. 15, in

schedule 4, page 49, line 38, at end insert—

'(3) Subject to sub-paragraph (2) above, the Authority shall exercise its power to appoint at least one member of the Board whom it believes to be representative of the interests of the Royal College of Pathologists.'.

Various learned bodies and groups representing those engaged in medical research or, professionally, in the handling of human material have expressed concern that their experience and expertise will not be adequately reflected in the various bodies created under the Bill. We have to admit that part of that concern is altruistic; there is a genuine desire on the part of those groups to lend their experience and expertise to these bodies. There is also concern for their members and others who work in this sphere, given the potentially quite punitive nature of some of the measures. It is therefore only natural that those groups should seek to influence the bodies that will be created. The public can be assured that they would benefit from their presence and active involvement in

the inspectorates, which many of us are concerned will not be adequately informed, given the complex nature of much of the subject matter.

The amendment would specifically include representatives of the Royal College of Pathologists in the inspectorate of anatomy and pathology. It is reasonable that such people should be included, given the subject matter with which that inspectorate will be dealing. The Bill deals to a large extent with those who will be excluded from the various bodies that will be set up, but it says relatively little about those who will be included and the expertise that the bodies will have. The amendment would give the authority a steer in that respect.

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

On Tuesday, in debating amendment No. 6, which was tabled by the hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley), we discussed issues similar to those raised by this amendment. He sought to have the Bill specify that members with relevant expertise should be appointed to the authority. My hon. Friend the Minister of State said then that it is important that a range of expertise is reflected in the authority's membership. That will apply equally to the boards of the inspectorates.

It would be inappropriate to identify one particular professional interest that had to be represented on the board of the inspectorate of anatomy and pathology. That is not to say that we do not regard the Royal College of Pathologists as an important body with a legitimate interest in the activities of the inspectorate. However, it is not only pathology that has such an interest, but the anatomy, tissue banking and pharmaceutical communities. In any event, in making appointments to the board, the authority will comply with the standards of the Nolan report, which includes the overriding principle that all appointments should be made on merit. All vacancies will be brought to the attention of those with an interest in the area of the inspectorate's work so that they can apply. The vast majority of public bodies do not have persons who represent particular bodies on their boards, and there is no special case for treating the inspectorate differently.

With that assurance, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the amendment.

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Shadow Minister (Health) 9:30 am, 5th February 2004

The Under-Secretary seems to be saying that he would expect the bodies to include people who are associated with the various organisations that will be dealt with by the Bill. I hope that that is true and that those bodies will act as a repository of experience and expertise. Given that my interpretation of his comments is correct, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 4 agreed to.

Clauses 36 to 39 ordered to stand part of the Bill.