16th April 2002

For Immediate release

"No taxation without representation"

says NHS Watchdog


Commenting on reports of a forthcoming increase in tax to fund the Health Service, in Gordon Brown’s budget this Wednesday, Peter Walsh Director of the Association of Community Health Councils for England and Wales (ACHCEW), said:

‘While additional funding for the NHS is to be welcomed, it is intolerable that the government should be asking the community to pay more taxes for the NHS, while at the same time reducing their power in the NHS by abolishing Community Health Councils.

‘If the government want to win public confidence in their handling of the NHS they need to ensure that ordinary people across the UK feel genuinely involved in the decisions taken by their local NHS. That can only be achieved if patients and the public feel that there is an independent local watchdog that both genuinely represents them and provides them with an independent, easily accessible, source of advice and support if they have problems with the NHS.’

‘Ironically the government’s so-called replacements for CHCs are estimated to cost five times as much. Perhaps some of this money should have been directed to patient care whilst making a modest investment in developing the tried and tested model of CHCs’


Community Health Councils, local, lay-led, NHS Watchdogs are being abolished as part of the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill, currently before the Lords.


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