Headlines: February 16th, 1998

Board meetings of NHS Trusts must now be open to the public. The Government have placed Trusts on the same footing as other public bodies which are subject to the Admission Act of 1960. The effect of this is that three days’ notice of time and place must be given, and agendas and papers provided. In addition newspapers can report on the meetings.The intention to make the decision process more open was signalled last year and the move is in line with the impending freedom of information legislation.

Although the majority of Trusts have maintained a closed door policy there has been a steady move towards openness over the past few years. The Newham Community Health Services Trust has been part of this movement. The majority of its Board meetings have been held in public since 1995. Recently it has extended the principle of openness by choosing the meeting venues to reflect topical and controversial agenda issues. A recent meeting on health services for young people was held at Brampton Manor School. Students from the school were invited to make a presentation to the Board.