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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Public will get chance to choose Cumbria health board members

HEALTH bosses in Furness are looking for two members of the public to look them in eye and hold them to account.

NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, in charge of deciding which health services will be provided in the county, are recruiting “lay representatives” to take up voluntary roles on the board of each locality.

The scheme comes on the back of a national drive to recruit lay representatives to increase transparency and engagement within the community.

But in an unprecedented move, the Furness Locality is hoping for the public to elect its own preferred candidates, rather than having them appointed by the board.

Deputy lead GP for Furness, Dr Arabella Onslow, said: “We really want to have people who are representative of the community, and we would like them to have some sort of mandate from the public,” she said.

Dr Onslow said interested parties would ideally have no background in medicine, and the board hoped electing two members, rather than the one recommended nationally, would prevent them from “joining the club.”

She said: “You can do things a certain way because that’s the way you have always done it. We want people with a different perspective to look at what we do and say ‘why are you doing it like this?’.”

The details of how the election would take place have not been decided but ideas from the public are welcomed.

The lay representatives would be expected to fully participate in the local executive monthly meetings.

The ideal candidate would be “fair-minded” and “articulate”, said Dr Onslow.

She said the next listening event, a meeting where the public can come face to face with senior clinicians and GPs, could be an opportunity for interested parties to tell the public why they should be elected.

The event will take place at The Forum in Duke Street, Barrow, from 6pm to 7.30pm on Thursday June 26. For more information about the role email engagement@cumbriaccg.nhs.uk or call 01768 245437.

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