Department of Health Board Meeting, March 2012

A summary note of the Department of Health Board meeting, held on 12 March 2012 between 2:00pm and 5:00pm, in the Boardroom, Richmond House, London.  The meeting discussed preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and progress with transition to the new health and care system, as well as standing items.

Present:
Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE MP, Secretary of State for Health
Rt Hon Simon Burns MP, Minister of State for Health (left the meeting at 3:10pm)
Paul Burstow MP, Minister of State for Care Services (left the meeting at 3:50pm)
Una O’Brien CB, Permanent Secretary
Sir David Nicholson KCB CBE, NHS Chief Executive
Dame Sally Davies DBE, Chief Medical Officer
Richard Douglas CB, Director General – Policy, Strategy & Finance
David Behan CBE, Director General – Social Care, Local Government & Care Partnerships
Peter Sands, Lead Non-Executive Board Member
Mike Wheeler, Non-Executive Board Member
Dr Catherine Bell, Non-Executive Board Member
Chris Pilling, Non-Executive Board Member
Professor David Heymann, Non-Executive Board Member

Apologies:
Anne Milton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health
Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality (Lords)

In attendance:
Principal Private Secretary to Permanent Secretary
Principal Private Secretary to Secretary of State for Health
DH Secretariat

Secretary of State Welcome

1.    The Secretary of State welcomed members to the Board meeting.  Apologies had been received from Anne Milton MP and Earl Howe.

2.    The minutes of the meeting held on 23 January 2012 were agreed as an accurate record of that meeting.

Permanent Secretary’s Report

3.    Una O’Brien presented her report, which was circulated in hard copy at the meeting.

4.    Una explained that business as usual performance was good for the time of year.  In relation to PIP breast implants, two reviews were underway.  The Information Tribunal hearing on release of risk registers had taken place on 5 and 6 March, and the Tribunal released their decision on 9 March.  However, the Tribunal had not yet given their arguments.

5.    The Health and Social Care Bill was nearing the end of its Parliamentary passage.  Events to develop a common purpose between the Department and its arm’s length bodies were taking place.

6.    On workforce matters, staff across the Department and the NHS had received letters telling them where the function they performed would be located in the new system.  In the Department, three new Directors General had been appointed.

7.    The Secretary of State gave an update on progress in social care.  The social care white paper was due for publication in early summer.

Performance Report

8.    Richard Murray, Director of Financial Planning and Allocations, attended the meeting for this item.

9.    Richard Douglas gave an update on the financial position and looked ahead to the future financial strategy.

10.    Richard Murray explained that performance against quality indicators was improving and QIPP targets were being met.

11.    It would be important to work with Monitor on procedures to deal with emerging problems at foundation trusts at an early stage.  Changes to Monitor’s remit set out in the Bill would support this.

12.    The issue of financial sustainability was discussed.  Strong management within provider organisations would be important in equipping them to deal with future challenges.

Report from Audit and Risk Committee

13.    Mike Wheeler gave a short report on the work of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Report from Executive Board

14.    The report was noted.

Live issues

15.    Peter Sands reported on the Board effectiveness evaluation that he had been leading.

Olympics preparation

16.    Helen Shirley-Quirk, Interim Director of Emergency Preparedness and Olympics, attended the meeting for this item and gave a presentation on preparation for the Olympics.  Helen explained that the Olympics and Paralympics would be a massive logistical exercise for the country, including the health sector.  LOCOG expected to provide approximately 95% of the Games’ healthcare requirements, but there remained important roles for the Department, Health Protection Agency and NHS.

17.    There were robust risk management arrangements in place at all levels.  There had been a number of assurance exercises in the NHS, with a final round over the next few months to sign off the NHS as being Games-ready.  In the Department, there was a new Crisis and Consequence Management Centre and expanded numbers of staff trained and ready to respond.

18.    Members discussed the content of the presentation, and were assured that robust plans were in place to deal with emerging issues.

Transition

19.    Karen Wheeler, Director of the Transition Programme, attended the meeting for this item.

20.    Karen explained that the Transition Programme had recently been reviewed by the Major Projects Review Group.  All the review’s recommendations were being followed up by the Department.

21.    In discussion, the following key points were raised:

•    The Department needed to focus now on transformation,

•    The Transition Programme needed to ensure the right people were in the right place at the right time.  This would become easier as new organisations took up more of their functions.

Any other business

22.    No items of any other business were raised.

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