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Family Practitioner Committees

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many family practitioner committees admit community health council observers to their meetings.

I understand that 41 family practitioner committees have invited observers from community health councils to attend their meetings. I hope that more will do so following the circular recently sent to them on this issue. Some other family practitioner committees have meetings with representatives from community health councils to discuss points of common interest, and others have meetings open to the public at which community health council members could accordingly be present.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will instruct all family practitioner committees to admit community health council observers to their meetings.

I have already conveyed to family practitioner committees (FPCs) my view that satisfactory arrangements for the attendance of community health council (CHC) observers at FPC meetings, subject to safeguards on confidential matters, could and should be made. I have, however, allowed the issue to be decided by individual FPCs, as I am convinced that to impose arrangements of this sort by the exercise of statutory powers would be harmful to relationships between CHCs and FPCs end thus to the service as a whole. I am sending a copy of the circular to my hon. Friend.