Health Bill 'unintelligible' says controversial new NCB chairman

The new chairman of the NHS Commissioning Board (NCB) has been accused of lacking experience and understanding of the NHS and has described the Health Bill as 'unintelligible'.

Members of the House of Commons health select committee were split along party lines over the appointment of Professor Malcolm Grant.

All three Labour committee members present at a hearing with Professor Grant voted against endorsing his candidacy for the role. But the two Conservative and one Liberal Democrat MPs present backed him, along with committee chairman Stephen Dorrell, also a Conservative.

An amendment backed by the Labour MPs warned that Professor Grant ‘demonstrated a lack of experience of NHS structures and processes’ and did not demonstrate a ‘robust understanding of the issues affecting the NHS’.

He had acknowledged being primed with answers by the DoH before facing the committee of MPs, was unclear about his role and about how the NCB would secure service changes locally, it said.

The amendment pointed out that he had referred to the Health Bill as ‘unintelligible’ and said that he had not convinced members of the committee that he would be ‘an effective counterbalance to executive members’ of the NCB.

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