Lord Toby Harris has been involved in health and social care since the late 1970s.
He was Director of the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales, the national statutory body that represented the interests of NHS patients, from 1987 to 1998. He was also a local CHC member for five years from 1977 to 1982.
He was also a non-executive director of the London Ambulance Service from 1998 to 2005 and a Senior Associate of the King’s Fund from 1998 to 2004. He is a member of the Advisory Panel of the Associate Parliamentary All-Party Health Group and has sat on many Department of Health Committees, including the NHS Charter Advisors’ Group, the Mental Health Task Force Support Group, and the Openness in the NHS Steering Group.
He was Chair of the Social Services Committee on his local Council from 1982 to 1987 and chaired the Social Services Committee of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities from 1986 to 1993. In the latter role, he led for local government in the negotiations with central government on the introduction of the care in the community policy and on the implementation of the Children Act.
He currently chairs the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody which advises the Department of Health on deaths in secure mental health establishments.
He speaks regularly in Parliament on health and social care issues, including the second reading debates on the Health and Social Care Bills in 2008 and 2011 and the Safeguarding Vulnerable People Bill. He also introduced a debate on musculo-skeletal disorders in 2008.