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Health Act 2009

Part 2.Powers in Relation to Health Bodies

Chapter 2 –Suspension

40.The Healthcare Commission report in October 2007 on outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust(12) highlighted the need for swift action, in extreme cases, to suspend chairs and members of NHS boards. A Review of NHS public appointments processes carried out with the NHS and published in January 2008, recommended that the Secretary of State should have powers to suspend those whom the Secretary of State appoints and that powers to suspend should, as with powers to appoint, be delegated to the Appointments Commission.

41.The Government consulted on proposals to introduce new powers of suspension for chairs and other non-executives of PCTs and NHS trusts between January and March 2008(13). The Government stated during the consultation that the Government’s intention was to introduce the same powers for chairs and non-executives of Strategic Health Authorities and national bodies established by the Department of Health in a second phase of legislation to follow later in 2008/09. The proposals for local trusts and PCTs received full support from the NHS and, following amendments to regulations,(14) the Appointments Commission was provided with the new powers on 16 June 2008.

42.A Government consultation document,(15) published in July 2008, considered proposals to introduce powers of suspension and a single approach to the removal of chairs and non-executives of the second group of bodies – Strategic Health Authorities, national health sector bodies and arms length bodies. The consultation concluded on 9 October 2009 and, as with the previous local consultation, it was supportive of introducing new suspension proposals.

43.Chapter 2 of Part 2 of the Act introduces Schedule 3 providing for new powers of suspension of chairs and other members of NHS and other health bodies. The provisions in the Schedule amend the relevant legislation dealing with appointments to Strategic Health Authorities, Special Health Authorities, Monitor, standing advisory committees (committees which advise the Secretary of State pursuant to section 250 of the NHS Act, such as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), community health councils in Wales, the Human Tissue Authority, the Health Protection Agency, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, bodies established under the Medicines Act 1968, the Alcohol Education and Research Council and the Appointments Commission itself. The provisions also ensure that appropriate procedures are or could be put in place for notification of suspension, review on request after a given period and for temporary replacement of a suspended chair.


Healthcare Commission (2007) Investigation into outbreaks of Clostridium difficile at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trusts, Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection


Department of Health (2008). Removing or suspending chairs & non-executives from PCTs and NHS trusts: Consultation on introducing powers of suspension. Department of Health, London.


Department of Health (2008). Removing or suspending chairs & non-executives of Health Bodies – Consultation on introducing new powers of suspension. Department of Health, London.

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