immediate release

9th November 2001

NHS Watchdog to be abolished

(Government re-tables plans to abolish Community Health Councils)

Community Health Councils (CHCs) and their supporters reacted angrily today to a renewed threat of abolition. CHC abolition forms a part of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Bill, published today by the government.

Angeline Burke, Senior Policy Officer at the Association of Community Health Councils, commented:

‘The proposed alternatives to CHCs, as set out in the bill, fall far short of meeting the widespread concerns about the independence of the new bodies and their lack of integration.’

‘If the Secretary of State pushes ahead with the bill in its current form patients will lose a respected, effective, independent health Watchdog and in its place they will get a system that is more fragmented, more confusing to the public and less independent.’

‘We are particularly disappointed to find that the government has turned its back on the idea of Patients’ Councils with statutory powers, an idea put forward by David Hinchliffe, Chair of the Health Select Committee, that enjoyed cross party support. We will be raising all these concerns with the Secretary of State for Health.’

In the last parliamentary session the proposed abolition provoked intense criticism from professional bodies, patient organisations, MPs and health campaigners. The measure was finally overturned in the Lords in May.



For further information please contact: Murray Benham on - 020 7609 8138



Notes to Editors