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Community Health Councils

Volume 176: debated on Friday 13 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he is now in a position to announce his decision on the future structure of community health councils in Wales.

Yes. Over 200 responses were received to the consultation paper which outlined our proposals for the reduction in the number of community health councils (CHCs) in Wales and other issues.I have now completed my consideration of those responses and whilst recognising that support is evident for certain of the proposals I have taken full cognisance of the fact that the majority of those who replied were not in favour of the reduction in the number of CHCs to one per district health authority (DHA). In most cases it was felt that many DHAs in Wales covered too large an area, or had too large a population, to be adequately serviced by a single CHC.I have therefore decided to retain 22 CHCs in Wales, comprised as they are at present. Nevertheless, I still feel that there are considerable advantages in CHCs coming together at times when dealing with DHAs on district-wide issues and will be suggesting that councils consider setting up joint committee systems such as that which is employed in Mid Glamorgan. It is also my intention to pursue certain of the other measures which were outlined in the paper and which I consider will be of benefit to the way in which CHCs operate. These measures will include the transfer of responsibility for the employment of all CHC staff from DHAs to the Welsh Health Common Services Authority and consideration of improved staff training; greater involvement in consumer attitudes and quality of care issues generally; production of forward plans of action; and the possible involvement of CHCs in the DHA and practitioner committee annual review procedures.