Proposition 19 for a new Healthcare Board?

Is it going to be an Advisory Board, an Advisory Interim Board or just a Health Board? Is it going to last three years, or only 18 months? How is it really going to work? What will be its accountability? And what are its real costs?

To understand any of this you have to read the original Proposition 19/2023 lodged by the Health Minister on 11th April (which was going to be debated on 23rd May but was then delayed) and then fast forward to the Minister's own amendment, six weeks later. to be debated this coming Tuesday 13th June. 

Most Deputies probably don't have time to read all 36 pages of the original, with the 85 points in Appendix 1, plus 14 more about appointments, removals and dismissals, then the 3 pages of Amendment 2 now proposed by the Minister.

Non Executive Officers (NEDs), Interim and Fixed Term Chairs, selection process, accountability, appointments and of course costs? We are already paying a vast sum of money (on 25th April the Bailiwick Express quoted a figure of £200,000 a quarter) for a Turnaround (or is it Change) Team to turnaround (or change) the hospital. So why can't we wait for this team to do what it has been set up to do? Wouldn't it be better to discuss the merits of a Health Board when we have a benchmark of the Turnaround Team's achievements?

However one thing is clear.

If you can't get the annual recurring costs right in your original proposal ("We're sorry it wasn't £196,000, it should have read £206,000", see page 5 of the amendment), that in itself sends alarm bells ringing. After that comes a long explanation of what the NEDs are really going to cost, because it "may transpire that a market supplement is required to secure an exceptional candidate."

So that means that some NEDs may be exceptional but some may not? Nor is it much comfort when the Minister explains that the £206,000 recurring annual cost is only a fraction of the £242 million of the Health Service budget, which we have been told is now heading for a deficit of more then £20 million by the end of this year. Just think how many extra nursing staff or consultants that £206,000 could employ each year over the term of the Advisory Interim Board.

And when you think you have read everything you unexpectedly stumble across an Instagram feed released just a few days before the debate. In this the Health Minister says that she is bringing a Proposition to "introduce an Interim Health Board in Health and Community Services." So we are back to "Interim" again are we?

We thought we needed transparency, good governance, standards and accountability, all the things the Minister talks about on the Instagram feed? It's a pity that the Proposition itself doesn't live up to the standards it proposes. 

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