Sarah Wollaston, the new Commons health committee chair, will have plenty of chances to place it at the centre of the pre-election debate
Dr Sarah Wollaston’s election as chair of the Commons health committee will be welcomed by many. She is independent, informed and outspoken – and will keep the committee’s work firmly in the media spotlight.
‘Under Stephen Dorrell’s leadership the committee became a real influence on the direction of health policy’
However, HSJ is also confident that she is aware of how hard an act she has to follow.
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Under Stephen Dorrell’s leadership the committee became a real influence on the direction of health policy – not just a bureaucrat-bashing shop and headline generator like so many other Commons committees.
It was MrDorrell who kept the focus on efficiency as the government pursued its painful commissioning reforms and he who steadily turned up the volume on health and social care integration long before government – or opposition – plans solidified.
As election fever builds Dr Wollaston will have plenty of chances to place her committee at the centre of a, no doubt, often furious debate. She will also, by following Mr Dorrell’s example of always taking the long view and avoiding the distraction of fashionable “issues of the day”, have a chance to shape it.