§ Mr. Steen
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the financial consequences of abolishing community health councils and replacing them with patient advocacy and liaison services (PALS), patients' forums, local advisory forums and all party scrutiny committees. 
§ Ms Stuart
The National Health Service Plan sets out a programme of investment and reform to modernise NHS. Chapter 10 of the Plan announced the introduction of a new system of public and patient involvement to 59W strengthen the voice of the patient at every level of the NHS. As a consequence, Community Health Councils are to be abolished, subject to legislation.
The aim of the new system is not to cut costs, but to transform the NHS, so that health care services are built around the needs of the patients who use it and citizens that pay for it. The current CHC budget is £23 million per annum, and an additional £10 million per annum has been made available from 2001–02 specifically to assist with the introduction of a Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service.