HC Deb 16 June 2004 vol 422 c1009W
Mr. Burstow

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what consultations took place on the capping of Patient Forum membership at an average of 10 per forum; and if he will make a statement; [178876]

(2) what the reasons are for the capping of Patient Forum membership at an average of 10 per forum. [178884]

Ms Rosie Winterton

The initial phase of recruitment of forum members in the three months to 1 December 2003 provided each of the 571 forums with their statutory minimum of seven members. The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) calculated that membership could increase to an average of 10 per forum within its existing budget and continued to recruit volunteers with this target in mind.

Increasing forum membership was raised as a key issue at a series of 31 regional meetings in May 2004, attended by around 1,200 forum members. In particular, forums which covered a large geographical area, for example, ambulance and mental health trusts and specialist and national hospitals, felt they needed flexibility to recruit more than 10 members.

The CPPIH has responded by announcing that it will agree individual recruitment plans with forums for an appropriate and affordable level of membership, which could move towards 15 over time.