Patient & Public Involvement: New Structures, New Attitudes?

Peter Walsh, Director, ACHCEW

Peter Walsh

NHS Reform Bill…

  • National Commission for Patient & Public Involvement
  • Special role for the Patients’ Forums for PCTs
  • Staff will be deployed to Patients’ Forums for PCTs
  • Staff based with PCT Forums to be core providers of the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service

Patients’ Forums

  • Funding from the national Commission – not the Trust
  • Restrictions on reporting lifted
  • Dedicated staff allocated to PCT Patients’ Forums – not reliant on Trusts
  • Power to refer issues of concern to the local OSC or the national Commission

Why was so much achieved?

  • The strong reputation of CHCs
  • People value the concept of a truly independent, local ‘watchdog’
  • A lot of hard work and campaigning!
  • The help of politicians of all backgrounds, especially David Hinchliffe MP!


Department of Health planning on basis of just 28 offices/staff teams and 600-700 staff! For all 600 Patients’ Forums, plus new statutory duties! Compares with 184 CHCs with 700 staff

Do we have it all to do again?

So, where are we now?

  • One thing is certain – the government wants rid of CHCs and we accept we are going! No date for abolition / start of new system – September/October at earliest
  • No clarity for CHC staff
  • National Commission starts in January 2003
  • Overview & Scrutiny Committees, Jan 2003

New Attitudes?

  • Patients on the ‘inside’
  • and the ‘outside’!
  • Reaching hard to reach groups
  • Performance management / accountability
  • Less adversarial?
  • NHS & DoH prepared to listen? Approach thus far does not bode well!

Old Attitudes worth keeping?

  • Independent
  • Constructively challenging
  • Community led and owned
  • The legacy of CHCs to live on in the new system – blend of the old and the new?