§ Mr. Lammy
[holding answer 13 February 2003]: It is not possible to predict the number of community health council staff that will secure posts within the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, supporting patients' forums or providing independent complaints advocacy support. These posts will be advertised and recruitment to them will be subject to open and fair competition. It is for the Commission to decide its staffing requirements.
§ Mr. Lammy
The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health has said that it will be working towards achieving full coverage of patients' forums by the end of the year. Arrangements will be in place to ensure there is continuous support for patients through the transition.
The new system for patient and public involvement goes beyond patients' forums.
For example, independent complaints advocacy support for patients wanting to complain against the national health service will be available, patient advice and liaison services in trusts and primary care trusts routinely feed up patients views to trust boards, overview and scrutiny committees (OSC) have to be consulted where substantial variation and developments are planned and individuals or patient groups can approach their OSC directly where they have concerns.
In addition, the Commission will set up a national telephone help-line, which will help people access local support arrangements.