Editor’s Comment with Lesley Williams

Proposed Changes to the Community Health Council


Time is fast running out for patients and the public to give their opinion on the changes proposed by the Welsh Government, which will see the abolition of the Community Health Councils, (CHCs) who have acted as the ’patient watchdog’ for over 40 years.

I’ve looked at the response form, and in my opinion the questions are very leading. Of course we want a strong voice in health and social care, but the concern is that we might be gaining a new organisation that has no teeth or remit to hear directly from patients or their families. The CHCs may not have always got it right, but at least they have provided support for thousands of individuals who have raised concerns about their care. As an independent body they can challenge and scrutinise the NHS on our behalf.

The proposed new citizen’s voice body would not have legal rights to hold health organisations to account for the way in which they deliver their services, something that the CHCs have been doing since 1974.

I expect there are many readers who are completely in the dark as to these proposed changes – the Welsh Government hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to tell us about them – if you don’t have access to a computer you’ll struggle to be informed.

The closing date for response is 29 September.

You can access the online form at https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/services-fit-future

This is what the Community Health Council says.

This is a good opportunity for a new ‘people’s voice’ organization across health and social care, however any new arrangement must be independent and sufficient power to:

  • hear directly from people about their health services, e.g., by visiting people accessing care
  • reflect the views and experiences of people and communities to people who make decisions about health and care services.
  • scrutinise and hold organisations to account on behalf of local people and communities for the way in which they deliver their services



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