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Health committee member resigns over 'toxic and adversarial atmosphere'

Manx Newscast - News Interviews in Full

Wednesday, 3 January 2024 - 11 minutes

Vice-chair of the Health Services Consultative Committee Annette Baker has resigned from the body following concerns over the health minister's behaviour towards committee members.

The former Ramsey Grammar School headteacher has served on the panel for three years.

She says it's become increasingly impossible to serve on the committee, and that comments made by Lawrie Hooper about the HSCC's annual report have left a 'very sour taste' among members.

In this episode of the Manx Newscast, Mrs Baker explains more about her decision to step down.

In response to Mrs Baker's resignation, Mr Hooper said: "Resignations were not unexpected following the changes in the HSCC regulations. The changes refocused the committee onto patients and service users, and were strongly opposed by some members.

"I acknowledge that the changes may be uncomfortable for those deeply invested in the previous regime but I firmly believe they are in the best interests of the Island. I can confirm a complaint was received, through the appropriate channels, and that I have fully co-operated with the investigation. It wouldn’t be appropriate to comment any further at this time, but look forward to seeing the outcome in due course.

"I am eager to work with the Health Services Consultative Committee as they move on to the collection and delivery of vital service user feedback, championing the views of users across health and social care and helping drive transformation of services.

"They will be pivotal in ensuring that service users have a route for their experiences and suggestions to be heard, as well as providing a pro-active forum for seeking out service level improvements in a way that will help us to bring about meaningful improvements."

Manx Radio previously reported that an investigation is ongoing following allegations of a breach of the ministerial code by the minister, something Mrs Baker references in her resignation letter.

With regards to that investigation, Chief Minister Alfred Cannan added: "I can confirm that there is currently an investigation underway, following a complaint which was received from the Health Services Consultation Committee (HSCC) late last year.

"I have initiated an independent investigation into this matter, which both the HSCC and the Department of Health and Social Care have fully co-operated with, and I expect to receive the final report before the end of this month."

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