January 9, 2001

Embargoed until: Wednesday 10th January 2001

Watchdog's Warning on Health and Social Care Bill

Community Health Councils (CHCs) today called on MPs of all parties to oppose their abolition. The abolition of CHCs forms part of the Health and Social Care Bill, which is due for its second reading today. The proposed abolition has provoked widespread and intense criticism from professional bodies, patient organisations, MPs and health campaigners.

Donna Covey, Director of the Association of Community Health Councils, commented:

‘Alan Milburn is attempting to push the abolition of CHCs through parliament in the face of opposition from patient groups, professionals and many MPs from his own party. The rhetoric of patient empowerment is undermined by the reality of a complete unwillingness to listen to public concern on this issue.’

‘The measures in the bill fall far short of meeting widespread concerns about the independence of the new bodies, their lack of integration and the absence of a national voice for patients.’

‘The public is in danger of losing a respected, effective, independent health Watchdog and receiving in its place a system that is more fragmented, less independent and that has no national voice.’


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