Liberal Democrat peers have agreed to support government regulations under which local nurses, doctors and councillors are banned from clinical commissioning group governing bodies.
Last month Baroness Judith Jolly, the party’s health spokesman in the Lords, told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal that she and colleagues would support a vote blocking the measures. The rules on CCG governing bodies are set in regulations laid before Parliament in July.
Currently local nurses and doctors who work for local providers are banned.
Labour peers have won a debate on the issue in the Lords on 16 October, and with Lib Dem support looked likely to be able to block them. Baroness Jolly said last month that nurses and doctors from providers local to a CCG should also be able to sit on its governing body, as long as they declared interests.
However, Nursing Times understands Lib Dem peers have now backed down and will not support Labour peers in the debate. The decision followed discussions within the coalition.
Liberal Democrats are likely to cite assurances from ministers that the arrangements, as currently proposed, will work.
The government is likely to have been concerned about the prospect of sparking confusion, and opposition from some quarters, by changing the rules. A change would also have come at a late stage in CCGs’ development, although some are still seeking members, and keen to involve councillors.