National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Bill, published
on Friday by the government.
criticism from professional bodies, patient organisations, MPs and health
campaigners. The measure was finally overturned in the lords in May.
Angeline Burke, senior policy officer at the Association of Community Health
'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.'
* CHCs were established in 1974 as patient advocates within the NHS.
Over the past 26 years they have been at the forefront of ensuring that the
patients' voice is heard and their complaints listened to. Most recently,
they played a pivotal role in ensuring that Rodney Ledward was exposed, and
that the victims of Harold Shipman were supported.
* Each year CHCs assist around 30,000 people with complaints.