OC Charlie Bell

Dr Charlie Bell (V07) gives an account of his work during the COVID-19 epidemic

Over the past few months, Dr Charlie Bell (V07) has been the National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellow at the National Audit Office and the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, working with OC Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP (W84). The committee has been highly active during the coronavirus epidemic, holding the government to account in a cross-party way. Charlie’s main work has been preparing the committee for their sessions, ensuring the most up to date and effective information is at their fingertips as they question key witnesses.

The committee has focused much of its work on the ongoing management of the epidemic but has also been looking at the effect of the epidemic on core NHS services. Among those called to address the committee have been the Secretary of State, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Executive of the NHS. The committee has particularly focused on the importance of the rapid expansion of testing capability, the provision of personal protective equipment and of establishing an effective and trusted contact tracing system. There have also been key sessions on identifying possible long-term changes to NHS care in the light of the crisis, both positive and negative.

The committee’s work continues, even as the epidemic begins to come under control, and Charlie will remain working in the House of Commons until August, when he returns to clinical practice as an Academic Clinical Fellow. Together with his work at the House of Commons, he has been advising the Church of England and several cultural bodies on the possible return of music as the crisis fades, and continues as a Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge.