3rd Sept 2001

For immediate release

Community Health Councils (CHCs) question the consultation process on the new patients' Voice

Commenting on today's launch of a 'discussion document' on the future of patient representation in the NHS, Donna Covey, Director of the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales, said:

'This 'discussion document' will represent the sole opportunity for those concerned with patients rights to have an input into decisions about the future of patient representation and public involvement within the NHS. We are disappointed to find that this process falls far short of a full scale consultation. The government's own guidelines on consultation, stipulate that 12 weeks should be 'the standard minimum period for a consultation.' On an issue as crucial as the future of patient and public representation in the NHS we would've hoped that the government would see fit to conduct a full and open public consultation.

'We will be consulting our members on the government's proposals, however our initial concerns about the proposed new structures would focus on:

'It is our hope that the discussion process will prove to be a meaningful exercise. The Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales (ACHCEW) remains committed to arguing for a strong, independent, effective voice for patients, that builds on the strengths of Community Health Councils.'


For further information please contact: Murray Benham at ACHCEW

on - 020 7609 8138

email: murray.benham@achcew.org.uk

website: www.achcew.org.uk

Notes to Editors