Views And Reviews

NHS trust boards must declare members' interests

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 07 May 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1242
  1. L Beecham

    NHS trust boards will have to keep a register of directors' and members' interests under new codes of conduct and accountability published last week, and these registers will be available to the public. The secretary of state for health published draft codes for consultation in January (22 January, p 225) and has received over 400 responses. Mrs Bottomley believes that the new codes will strengthen the trusts' accountability to her and to the public. When they are appointed all board members will have to subscribe to the codes. “We are determined,” she said, “to reaffirm that the pursuit of private gain plays no part in the decision making of NHS board members.”

    The main features of the codes are clearer definitions of the functions of chairpeople and non-executive board members, who will have to declare any private interests which are “material and relevant to NHS business.” Boards will have to establish audit and remuneration and terms of service committees. They will have to spell out clearly which of their committees may hold delegated functions. The NHS Executive will clarify the position on all financial constraints which apply to NHS authorities and trusts. The boards' annual reports will have to set out the total remuneration from the trust of the chairman and executive and non-executive board members.

    The codes will also put an obligation on health authorities to publish an annual report on their performance and stewardship of public finances - an annual report is already mandatory for NHS trusts.

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