HC Deb 02 July 2003 vol 408 cc349-50W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether community health councils will continue to be fully funded until their closure; when their closure will take effect; and what the impact of the closure will be on (a) patients and (b) staff of community health councils. [120654]

Ms Rosie Winterton

Community health councils (CHCs) will be funded until they are abolished on 1 December 2003. From that date the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health will have established the new patients' forums, one in each trust. Much of the new and improved system of patient and public involvement is already in place.

CHC staff are being supported to find alternative employment in the national health service and this support is based on a human resources framework (HRF) agreed with the trade unions. This provides staff with clearing houses, training and counselling support. The Department of Health continues to work with the trades unions on the delivery of the agreed HRF and this work will continue to the abolition date.