December 20th 2002

For immediate release

Health Watchdog appoints new director

Malcolm Alexander, formerly Chief Officer of Southwark Community Health Council, has been appointed Director of ACHCEW(the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales).

Commenting on his appointment, Malcolm said:

'It is a privilege to be joining ACHCEW at such a crucial time for public and patient involvement. Our association represents 5.000 members and supports 700 staff across England & Wales. These highly effective people are on the front line of patient and public involvement in the NHS. Iím confident that we can ensure that their voice will continue to be extremely powerful in all the current debates surrounding the role-out of the new patient and public involvement system.'

'My immediate aim is to make sure that the Association's finances for the immediate future are secure. CHCs will continue to need representation and support at a national level for as long as they continue to exist. We have to ensure that happens. I'm also determined that the voice of CHCs on key issues that affect the nations health services is heard loudly by the government.'

Malcolm has been an active campaigner for the rights of patients and the public in the NHS for over 20 years. Since 1987 he has been Chief Officer of Southwark CHC, during which time he developed its reputation as one of the most progressive and effective CHCs in the country. Malcolm has already had significant involvement in national and regional health policy work particularly around services for black and ethnic minority communities and mental health. He is particularly renowned as the founder of 'Casualty Watch' - the regular survey of waiting times in A&E departments, which has embarrassed successive governments with revelations of excessively long waits in the nations Accident and Emergency departments. 'Casualty Watch' has been credited both with the introduction of significant improvements in A&E departments and the application of a more patient centered measure of A&E waits .

Prior to working for CHCs Malcolm worked for the NHS as a microbiologist investigating hospital acquired infection.

-ends-

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

email: murray.benham@achcew.org.uk

website: www.achcew.org.uk

Notes to Editors

Photo attached/are available