Embargoed until: 00:01 Wednesday 18th July 2001

'Government must rise to the challenge

of patient empowerment'

Community Health Council (CHC) delegates from across the country will today hear a keynote AGM speech from Donna Covey, Director of the health watchdog the Association of Community Health Councils (ACHCEW). The speech will call on the government to 'build on the strengths of CHCs, to develop a system of patient representation that is, independent, integrated and has real teeth.'

Donna Covey will say:

‘If the government means what it says on patient empowerment, then it seems to me we all want the same thing: to ensure that patients have more say over their treatment and more influence in how the NHS works.

'That is the destination. That is what we have been striving for over the past 27 years. Last time around, we got the feeling that the Government had labeled CHCs "not wanted on the journey". The challenge for the government is to ensure that all those who care about the rights of patients are on board. The record of CHCs in delivering for local communities for over a quarter of a century earns them a place on the journey.'

Ms Covey, will also point to how much local CHC knowledge and experience has to contribute to the national debate on the NHS, particularly during a period of major reform.

The conference will also be addressed by Sir Donald Irvine, President of the General Medical Council, who will talkabout the changing culture of medicine and the active role the GMC is playing in making the profession more open, accountable and patient centred.


For further information please contact: Murray Benham on - 020 7609 8405

Mobile: 07971 958938

Temporary conference number for July 18th only: 020 7434 2430

email: murray.benham@achcew.org.uk

website: www.achcew.org.uk


Notes to Editors