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Commissioning board chief admits ‘I don’t use the NHS’

The Government’s newly-appointed chair of the NHS Commissioning Board has risked incurring the wrath of critics by admitting he does not use the NHS.

The admission from Professor Malcolm Grant came during a grilling he received at the hands of the House of Commons Health Committee last week.

When asked to demonstrate his ‘passion’ for the NHS, the Univer­sity College London provost, appointed to the role earlier this month, was forced onto the defensive by MPs.

‘Come on, what do you want me to say?’ he asked. ‘I find it difficult to demonstrate because I am not a patient of the NHS.’

Professor Grant – a barrister, and former environmental lawyer, was personally endorsed by health secretary Andrew Lansley as his preferred candidate to chair the NHS Commissioning Board.

But the appointment has proved controversial, with GP leaders calling for the post to be filled by a GP, and some MPs unconvinced of his suitability for the role.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the situation was ‘as ­unthinkable as Man Utd handing control of their transfer kitty to [Manchester City manager] Roberto Mancini.’

Writing in the Sunday Mirror in response to the admission, Mr Burnham said: ‘It really does say it all. The first choice to control your NHS doesn’t believe in it enough to use it himself.’