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Analysis: ‘Conflicts of interest come round reasonably often at meetings’

Dr Simon Gates, chair of Wyre Forest CCG, explains how strong lay representation helps deal with potential conflicts of interest

We are lucky that we have regular attendance from the public at our board meetings - we have had for around 10 months. At the start of each board meeting, I am clear with the members of the public that the most important job that they have is to watch for conflicts of interest and challenge us if they think we are getting it wrong.

It comes round reasonably often. We have a standard conflicts of interest document and we declare them during the meeting. Then we are talking about the level of the conflict of interest? Does it affect a GP’s own personal income? At times, I have had to leave the room while people discuss elements of that. That is absolutely positive.

We have systems in place, including removing large parts of our board when discussions take place. We have not had to use that at board level for some time though. I don’t think it is turning into such a big issue as we feared when we first started CCGs.

Our vice chair is a lay person and will chair the debate if I have to absent myself from the discussion.

Dr Simon Gates is chair of Wyre Forest CCG

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