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'FARCE' AS NHS QUANGOS MEET 'IN PUBLIC' ALL AT SAME TIME

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The only annual statutory opportunity for the public to attend public meetings of NHS trusts degenerated into farce...
The only annual statutory opportunity for the public to attend public meetings of NHS trusts degenerated into farce last night as community health council watchdogs struggled to attend several different meetings in one night, The Birmingham Post reports (p1).

Ten of Birmingham's 11 trusts are holding their annual public meetings - the only chance for the public to examine accounts and query strategies - in the space of one week, with five taking place tonight.

Chief officer of West Birmingham CHC Martyn Smith said: 'We are having to mount a major operation to get people to all the meetings. In some cases we have only 48 hours formal notice of meetings. We have two full-time officers and the rest of out membership are volunteers.

'It seems that anybody who is in interested in mental health care is being expected to be in two or three places at once.'

The Post reports a spokesman for the NHS executive West Midlands said trusts were obliged to hold their annual meetings before the end of September and after their accounts had been approved: 'There is no conspiracy in all these meeting being held together. It is just coincidence.'
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